THE GATHERING Curated by Jack Duplock. Jamie Shovlin, Charles Danby, Gazmend Ejupi, Jonathan Baldock, Steven Tabbutt, Thijs Jansen, Jack Duplock, Matthew Cowan, Marcus Coates. 25th September-27th October at Yukiko Kawase Galerie Art Contemporain gallery.
Yukiko Kawase Galerie Art Contemporain is pleased to present ‘The Gathering’. An exhibition that continues an on going investigation with the subject of folk or folklore, bringing together a group of artists that in some way reference or touch upon the themes of folklore. The title ‘The Gathering’ refers to an assemblage or a meeting of people such as a community or collective from which folklore originates from. Using this as a point of departure the exhibition focuses on one aspect of folk that is ritual and explores its significance in contemporary culture.
Folklore is a cultural expression that’s formed out of popular beliefs and customs of a particular community. Reflecting on aspects of everyday life and the common man, it fuse’s realism and fantasy, politics and magic; diverging from the visionary to the revolutionary. Handed down from generation to generation through an oral tradition, folk has remained relevant by evolving with the ever-changing transformation of society. As the idea of community has become global, through new technology and cyber space, a new hybrid of folk has emerged, that references various different cultures rather than deriving from one. On the other hand it seems appropriate that, as a reaction to the current financial meltdown and global crisis, artists are attracted to the local heritage and authenticity of folk.
The exhibition is divided into three parts to emphasize the varied ways folk and ritual has influenced contemporary art.
Authentic culture – whether it exists in the archives of museums (Matthew Cowan’s use of the folk art archive), it is still in practice in non-western cultures where rituals are still part of daily life
(Gazmend Ejupi’s exploration of Albanian celebrations and Romany gipsy traditions) or established rituals are appropriated into contemporary practice (Marcus Coates exploration of shamanic processes)
Quotation – within modernism the craft movement included abstractions of patterns and motives found within folklore into a highly evolved art form. Starting with Bauhaus, much of contemporary art today references folk via the translated organic form into stylised artefacts or theatrical props to varying degrees of remove from the authentic, for example in Jonathan Baldock’s sculptures.
Social experiment- taking its cue from the radical counterculture as it emerged in the Sixties and Seventies, where contemporary forms of tribal behaviour and clothing emerged. This appears in Jamie Shovlin’s invented band Lustfaust: A Folk Anthology 1976 -80, a constructed, extensive and seemingly real archive of a fictional German noise band of the 1970s, Jack Duplock’s protagonists of an imaginary cult, dressed up in shamanic outfits, Charles Danby’s reduced drawings that bring new proposal to a central concern of the 70s Morning Star newsletters, that ‘a free city is a gathering of free people’, or Thijs Jansens’s and Steven Tabutts paintings that reference iconography from popular culture and the internet.