Ladders are an important element in the work. They symbolize the ascent of consciousness to a higher level. The first three images are about the iconography associated with ladders. The other images are of the making of ladders out of Ari's cardboard, white paper, and receipts.
(photos by KZ and Steven Kennedy)
This image is from Robert Fludd's Utriusque cosmi historia, II, 1619, in the tradition of western alchemy. The ladder leads from the world of matter to spirit. Each rung represents a stage of development - see below.
This drawing depicts the seven chakras, with the last represented by the flaming crown of light (much like the sun in the above image).
The ladder is symbolically associated with the caduceus, which is the ladder upon which Hermes/Mercury, messenger of the gods, ascends and descends. The snake glides along the earth, sheds its skin and renews itself and is therefore associated with change, renewal and healing - in the familiar image of the caduceus, above, snakes rise up the rod, representing the transformative life forces of mother earth.
Back in the studio, the cardboard is cut to size and taped together to make the rough skeleton form of the ladder.
Several layers of paper are applied with wheat paste.
After a couple of layers.