Stories are as old as humanity itself. They form a large part of our identity and explain the origins of who we are. Stories fill in the gaps of uncertainty and of the inexplicable. They also allow us to live through adventures without partaking in them.
Our most ancient stories are about our origins and about where we are heading - the underworld, the hereafter, reincarnation, or nothingness. Matters that defy knowing, or, rather, certainty, invite us to speculate or fantasize.
Stories never lose their appeal. The media are full of them. We love a good story, be it true or made up.
Every religion or mythology presents such tales and we find many correspondences, such as the hidden garden of paradise. Underworld landscapes often share certain characteristics and qualities. I enjoy the way they turn out, like fairy tales for grown-ups. Besides I appreciate the idea of continuity and its metaphores - e.g. the crossing of a river as a journey - and they offer solace. Stories are a wellspring of mythical views on an elusive phenomenon: the realisation of mortality.
The Hades Project involves a selection of underworld myths. It is a random one, based on unique characteristics and peculiarities, and sometimes categorized according to stories from the five major religions, because there are many types. Even religions are susceptible to fashion. As an artist, I take the liberty of choosing those that appeal the most. For my paintings, I chose a narrative approach, not unlike the way Western painting has dealt with Biblical imagery. Like the allegories that we find in Catholic churches - as comic strips for the illiterate.
The Hades Project will take many years. Although the title suggests a project, given the vastness of the subject, it doesn't really constitute a project in the traditional sense of the word, because it has no fixed beginning or end timewise. The beginning coincides with the ancient Greek underworld. A dark realm with marshes, planes, and rivers. Two of those rivers are Lethe and Mnemosyne.
Whoever choses to drink from Lethe, will forget his or her past life. Mnemosyne's water will make one remember it instead. I find the idea of having this choice a comforting one. The subject of the two rivers thus beckons me to conduct my explorations both above and below the water surface.