Paradisets vägar (1987)

Les voies du paradis (2023)

The ways of paradise (2024)

In 1987 I came across this amazing Swedish book by author and art historian Peter Cornell. It was literally a chock to my system and changed how I thought about art, narratives and even politics. 

A few years later, in 1989, I made a performance with two friends that I called “Earling, lärling”. It was directly inspired by Peter Cornell’s book. The actors shared anecdotes from the book while painting a huge backdrop for an imaginary play. However they never used paint and the backdrop remind white. There is only this one image remaining from the performance.

In 2020 I participated in a workshop with choreographer Alix Eynaudi in Montpellier and came to talk about Cornell’s book again. I was very encouraged by the participants reaction, leading me to propose the book to After 8 Books in Paris and Fitzcarraldo Edition in London. 

This is how After 8 Books present the book (launched November 2023):

Les Voies du Paradis brings together what remains of a lost manuscript: the footnotes alone to a missing text, left by a researcher after his death and edited by Peter Cornell. These notes and their illustrations form an incomplete whole, which can be read here through its gaps. A thread - Ariadne's? - is woven between the diagrams, the figures of spirals and labyrinths - from Cesare Ripa to Ernst Josephson and Robert Smithson, from the Templars to the Spiritists and Surrealists - that run through the text and echo each other, like elements of an enigma or esoteric figures. The 'Paradise' referred to here is the dream of absolute knowledge, the grasp of the hidden order of things, to which poets and artists as well as mystics and scientists aspire...

Published in Sweden in 1987, Les Voies du Paradis has acquired the reputation of a cult book. In it, Peter Cornell offers an original perspective on the links between art, literature, spirituality and the occult, in a text that is halfway between essay and fiction, erudition and mystification. The will to know is presented as a quest caught in the trap of the irrational; the notes are assembled by associative logic, an eclectic programme that is still trying to find a lost centre - like the algorithms that have been entrusted with the fantasised task of putting human knowledge in order.

For englsih readers the book will be available in 2024 with Fizcarraldo Edition.