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Date Minted: April 30, 2020

Artist Description: Exclusively on SuperRare, only 1 Edition to ever exist. A picture is worth a thousand words. A GIF is worth a book worth of words. And art is worth an entire library. Portraying Crypto Art at its best.   

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

Artist Pix is pretty pell-mell with what subjects they choose use their specific brand of slow-glitch, highly-pixelated artistry to explore, but I’m shocked and impressed by how often and with what ease Pix is able to conjure images of extreme serenity, extreme spiritual beauty, and even a kind of on-high ineffability. The Norwegian Pix, or Jorun Gunn Osburg, is an artist of few words, describing themselves in their Superrare bio with only the following “To pixel... or not to pixel... that is the pixel.” Unsurprisingly, pixels are the omnipresent building blocks of Pix’s work, the ammo used when the artist trains their sights on pop culture figures, the aforementioned spirituality, abstraction, or quintessential crypto art imagery like Satoshi Nakamoto. Pix’s art unfolds almost like if XCOPY had taken a Xanax, with a very slow-moving kind of glitch, with a very contemplative blending of colors, a subtle but perpetual motion. That said, I think Transcendental is among Pix’s greatest works. The execution of the vision is superb. The colors are superb. The effect is superb. This is a beautiful, engaging, hyper-expressive work of art. It’s an all-encapsulating evocation of Pix’s style. What Pix is able to do here, the kinds of textures and dimensions he’s able to explore with just a few pixels, a bit of static color, and some implied movement is mighty impressive. Transcendental, no joke, transcends itself. 

Alight in an astounding sequence of pinks, purples, blues, and indigos, first and foremost, Transcendental is an absolutely gorgeous piece. The colors are hard to pinpoint however, as the nature of the image’s glitchy construction means colors in any one spot are soon replaced by pixels of another color, and while the entire overarching image maintains visual cohesion, individual pixels are constantly in flux, almost like electrons moving at unobservable speed within a body or object. There’s an undulation to the movement, something which conjures slow-breaking waves upon a beach, and the serenity which is to be found in such movement. It’s an overall halcyon impression, and when you stare at Transcendental for a long moment, you realize that the movement, though chaotic in individual spots, is predictable, slow, suggests a clockwise motion. Transcendental encourages you to sink deeper into it. Like a hypnotist slowly swinging a locket in front of your eyes. All of this color and movement centers around the implied image of a cross-legged person, devoid of all features, devoid of personality or individuality, just an unidentifiable human body lit up in bright pink hues, contrasted against the darker indigo background. As the bright pink pixels rotate around, they are often replaced by white pixels which seem to snake across the body. It gives the impression of small streaks of white light crawling over the being’s pink body, a spiritual illumination that seems to emerge from every created crevice in the figure’s body. 

What I noticed about this piece after staring at it for awhile is that my breath began to sync with the way the pixels moved. The piece as a whole, and the body within it, seemed to breathe in time with me, seemed to inhale and exhale, seemed to expand with air and then shrink slightly while releasing it. And, yes, there’s an odd mimesis to the movement of the pixels; it seems to take on whatever proportions and parallels we impress upon it. Breath, however, seems a fitting archetype considering the subject matter Transcendental captures.

Clearly, this is a person meditating, their back straight, their arms spread out over their knees in a mudra position. I’m reminded of a quote by the great zen master Suzuki Roshi, who said, ”When I sit [in meditation], you sit; everything sits with me. When you sit, everything sits with you. And everything makes up the quality of your being.” Upon some reflection, it’s the color composition which makes me think of that quote (combined, obviously, with the position of the subject). The way pixels are so intertwined, and the way that, yes, despite the fact that the figure here is set clearly apart from the background, when we interrogate individual pixels of the body, we find that the delineations between the two are broken down, are less certain than they appeared, that one seeps into the other and vice versa. This harkens back to the Zen Buddhist tradition of enlightenment being the elimination of separation between self and non-self, like the story about the Zen Master who achieved enlightenment after hearing a chicken cluck and realizing there was no difference between the two, chicken and Zen Master. That breaking down of borders between self and universe is the eventual, underlying goal of meditation itself, the evocation of this piece’s very title: Transcendental. 

Captured within this piece is then not only the subject, but the methodology behind the subject’s actions, as well as the universal truth that the figure is trying to discover for themselves (or, perhaps, has already). There’s an irony within that: the piece is aware of the subject’s sought-after truth even if the subject itself is not. That makes the artist a kind of God within the realm of this work, the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-understanding soul of the Transcendental universe, and when we peer at this pixelated figure deep in meditation, we are guests of that God, aware ourselves of the truth that is being sought, aware of how one goes about understanding it, and, of course, aware that we ourselves have yet to. 

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