The Black Flame of Paradise

Zachary Cahill


Artist Novel, 20 x 15 cm, 160 p., language : English, publisher : Mousse Publishing , ISBN : 9788867493395.
Materials: ink, paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2029/824).

Literary synopsis

The Black Flame of Paradise is an epistolary novel addressed to the citizens of the fictional country, the USSA. Written in a mode that is at once autobiographical and religious, the book examines  notions of heaven and the afterlife primarily through a narrative about the loss of the artist’s mother to Alzheimer’s disease. A central concept running throughout the text is the phrase “life without consanguinity,” a plea for reconceiving society beyond the logic of blood relations.  The novel also features a preface by renowned philosopher Catherine Malabou. The Black Flame of Paradise is Zachary Cahill’s first novel.

Relation of the novel to the artist’s practice

The Black Flame of Paradise is conceived of as the “holy book” of the Assembly, state-church of the USSA. The narration runs parallel to several exhibition projects that took place between 2015–17 and excerpts from the novel were included in the exhibition. The novel, the art objects, and performances all comprise the USSA Assembly. At the end of the novel is a series of plates featuring exhibitions, performances and related art works from the USSA Assembly project.

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