DIVE INTO: ABUNDANCE by Beeple

Cryteria
Cryteria Crave
Published in
2 min readApr 15, 2021

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Unveiling the deeper meaning behind one of Beeple’s encripted artworks.

Beeple. (2021). “Abundance”. https://twitter.com/beeple/status/1376021011276177410/photo/1
Beeple. (2021). “Abundance”. https://twitter.com/beeple/status/1376021011276177410/photo/1

In our first encounter with Abundance, we are confronted by a suspended, charcoal-skinned figure with distinctly androgynous features. From behind, a pair of white, luminous wings unfold. At this point, two main questions appear: Are we in the presence of an angel or a demon? And furthermore, does it incarnate good or evil?

ABUNDANCE invites a series of questions, which must be approached through observation…

From a purely visual standpoint, a dichotomy immediately reveals itself. Even though we gaze upon a static image, several elements within the artwork itself suggest movement. Take a look at the caterpillars, don’t they seem to flit and writhe around the main figure? Observe, too, the outstretched wings. Doesn’t it appear that they have somehow magically unwound and extended? Finally, don’t the feet of the being, splayed and angular, suggest motion as well?

But…as we find more evidence for movement, subsequent doubts arise. Where is it going? Where does it come from?

By the black debris that surrounds the being, and the direction in which it is looking, the spectator is led to believe that the figure is rising. This kind of motion, combined with the light that emerges from the wings and the energy that is evoked by the floating spheres and insects, may lead us to interpret the image as one of liberation, escape, birth or even rebirth. In considering this hypothesis, it is paramount to keep in mind the caterpillars. The symbolism of this insect is rich with interpretation; caterpillars often represent rebirth and liberation. One could even go so far as to suggest that the whole meaning of the image is condensed in these larvae. (This operation is often referred to as mise en abyme.) Another creature that naturally comes to mind in weighing the liberation/rebirth hypothesis, is the phoenix. With analogs in many cultures, the phoenix is the mythical bird that regenerates itself or is otherwise born again. The link between this creature and the one in ABUNDANCE is not just conceptual — the wide wings and bird-like feet of our demon-angle figure closely resemble those of the phoenix.

Now that we’ve briefly immersed ourselves in the artwork, we turn to you. Consider for yourself the elements we’ve spoken of, or others we’ve perhaps overlooked. Is it a dark angel or a celestial demon? What are we standing in front of — good or evil?

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