The work “Lucidity Begets Madness” by Canadian artist James Livingston is offered up as a counterpoint to the expression “ignorance is bliss”.
Lucidity Begets Madness (c. 2001, Watercolour on paper, 15” x 22”) by James Livingston
In the piece, Livingston portrays two figures to represent ignorance and awareness. The figure in the foreground has stripped away all filters like a raw nerve. Overloaded by knowledge and awareness they become incapable of coping. Interconnected to the madness of the world, they twist and contort in anguish, tearing themselves apart.
The figure in the background sits almost blissfully below the spine tree. They have wrapped themselves in layers to keep them safe, keep them protected. Wrapped in ignorance, forced upon them and moreover by their own inability or unwillingness to acknowledge the that which surrounds them. They sit, suffocated by their own veil.
Livingston’s work is raw and filled with many emotions, portraying the experience of life being overwhelmed by reality or sheltered by lies and ignorance. If ignorance is bliss, then awareness is agony.
Feature Image: Liza Polyanskaya, On Unsplash, Creative Commons
Body Image: James Livingston, Used with Artist Permission