The Aura Project: 1997-2005


In  1997, I  began The Aura Project. My intention was to investigate the relationship between colour and portraiture beyond our usual definitions of race, gender, religion, and ethnicity. The Aura Project predates  many contemporary artists work using  the aura including Susan Hiller, and Anne Collier.

The Theosophists, Steiner, and Tesla all  had great interests in how to capture the “aura”. Colour theories based on these spiritual/scientific ideas and experiments had a profound influence on the modernists in the early 20th century, and have formed the basis for how we look at and feel about colour today. These theories inspired me to embark on this project one hundred years later to investigate creatively how our relationship to colour has transformed with new technologies.

I have taken aura photographs of people from different ethnic, and spiritual traditions around the world. These portraits include sadhus and holy women by the Ganges in Rishikesh, India, Tibetan refugees in the mountains of Dharamsala, Buddhist monks and dancers in the hills of Kyoto, Sikh families in Long Island and artists, healers and psychics in US, Germany and Canada. THE


The Aura Sadhus, 2001

The Aura Project has been presented at

The Museum of Cosmic Consciousness, Fernberger House, Nagano, Japan (2018)

The Temptation of AA Bronson at the Witte de With Contemporary Art Museum in Rotterdam from September 5- January 5, 2013 and in 2015 included  The Sadhus Aura , a group of 24 aura portraits taken in Rishikesh and Vrindivan. The Sadhus Aura were also included in  AA Bronson’s Sacre du Printemps” Grazer Kunstverein,

Blur of the Otherworldly, 2005, at Center for Art and Visual Culture, UMBC– Blur of the Otherworldly: Contemporary Art, Technology and the Paranormal  was a major traveling exhibition featuring 29 contemporary artists whose work employs modern communication technologies (photography, film, video, computers, radio, internet, and digital media) to explore culturally inbred questions / superstitions concerning parallel worlds to our own.  Curriculum Packet for “Blur of the Otherworldly”

Concerning The Spiritual in Photography, 2004 at the Photographic Resource Center, Boston University

Divining Fragments: Reconciling the Body, 2003, Center for Photography  at Woodstock, Curated by Koan Jeff Baysa

Shadow of the Invisible , 2014,  at Oakland University Gallery, curated by Claude BaillargeonA catalogue accompanied the exhibition. 

Collaboration with Takuji Kogo/ Candy Factory, Yokahama Triennial, Japan   can be seen here , 2001

Publications include:

Chrysanne Stathacos – The Sadhus: The Aura Project, Media Guru Zine #11, Published by AA Bronson, first edition of 150, Berlin

The Picture Professional – All The Colours We Can Not See  Chrysanne Stathacos and The Aura Project: by Michelle Weidman

Invisible Colors:, 2002,  by Chrysanne Stathacos,  Printed in New Delhi, India : Nature Morte Books. 2002

Chrysanne Stathacos, an artist known particularly for finding the spiritual in art, presents this book which presents 40 full-page color photographic portraits of various people including the Sadhus by the Ganges, Tibetan refugees in Dharamsala, Krishna devotees from Vrindavan, Shinto dancers from Japan, and Sikhs from Long Island. The portrait photographs are taken with an “aura camera,” a biofeedback invention used at psychic fairs to record the aura of the sitter. This book documents the artist’s three years of traveling throughout the world to catch people’s auras in a single snapshot.

Technology of Intuition, 2008,   edited by Jennifer Fisher,  Co-Published with YYZ Books and Display Cult

This definitive anthology brings together texts, interviews and artists’ projects that centre on the theme of intuition. The contributors in this volume address facets of the sixth sense in art and culture from a wide range of perspectives, including those of visual, performance and new media art, cultural theory, art history, psychology, curating, and theatre.

Contributors include: Marina Abramovic (Amsterdam), Jo Applin (UK), Carolyn Bell Farrell (Toronto), Zoe Beloff (New York), Joanne Bristol (Banff), Karen Finley (New York), Jennifer Fisher (Toronto), Serena Keshavjee (Winnipeg), Katja Kessin (Montreal), Alexandra Kokoli (UK), Valerie Lamontagne (Montreal), Carlen Lavigne (Ottawa), Frances Leeming (Kingston), Jade McCutcheon (Australia), Barbara Balfour (Toronto), Linda M. Montano (New York), Bev Pike (Winnipeg), Beth Seaton (Vancouver), Carolee Schneemann (New York), Katarina Soukup (Montreal), Chrysanne Stathacos (Toronto), Paula Thomson (Los Angeles), Karen Trask (Montreal), Tricia Wasney (Winnipeg).    Book Review/Ascent Magazine

Blur of the Otherworldly: , 2005,  Contemporary Art, Technology, and the Paranormal is accompanied by a 200 page fully illustrated catalogue with essays on the significance of paranormal and the supernatural in contemporary culture by Lynne Tillman, associate professor and writer-in-residence at the University at Albany, and Marina Warner, novelist and former scholar at the Getty Center for History of Art and Humanities. Mark Alice Durant and Jane D. Marsching, co-curators of the exhibition, will contribute extensive essays on the interplay between science, art, and the occult as it relates to the artworks in the exhibition.

The publication will contain over eighty illustrations in color and black and white as well as a checklist for the exhibition, illustrated timeline, and a bibliography. Published by the Center for Art and Visual Culture, as the ninth title of its Issues in Cultural Theory series, Blur of the Otherworldly: Contemporary Art, Technology, and the Paranormal will be distributed internationally by Distributed Art Publishers (DAP), in New York.

AIDS, A Reader, Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, Austria

Ethers,  Museum of Contemporary Spiritual Art, Lublin, Poland 

Willing Spirits: Art of the Paranormal, by Nancy Princenthal,;  Art in America, February 2006

The EthersTempleton Foundation Press , March 2003,

Concerning The Spiritual in Photography : Photographic Resource Center by Ben Sloat for Big Red and Shiny Volume 1, Issue 3

Additional exhibitions of the Aura Project include: 

Petal Pusher, Oakville Galleries, Oakville, Canada, 1999

Aura, Ananda on the Himalayas& Nature Morte New Delhi, (Rishikesh, India),2000

Moving Collection, curated by Roger McDonald AIT, Tokyo, Japan, 2001

Ethers, Museum of Contemporary Spiritual Art, Trynitarska Tower, Lublin, 2003

Immaterial World, Stephen Cohen Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, 2005

18 Illuminations, Tom Thomson  Memorial Art Gallery, Owen Sound, Ontario , ( traveling exhibition),2008

Face Value:Plastic Surgery and Transformation Art, curated by Suzanne Anker, New York Academy of Sciences, NY, NY

Transmissions curated by Patricia Watts at  the Marin Community Foundation, California, 2013