Thursday, July 13, 2017

OCCULTURE: The Dark Arts
Wellington City Gallery
12 August - 19 November 2017
Curator: Aaron Lister

Link to gallery:

Artists: Kenneth Anger (US), Leo Bensemann (NZ), Yin-Ju Chen (TAIWAN), Eleanor Cooper (NZ), Aleister Crowley (UK), Simon Cuming (NZ), Mikala Dwyer (AUS), FULGUR (UK), Henry Fuseli (SUI), Jason Greig (NZ), Dane Mitchell (NZ), Rosaleen Norton (NZ/AUS), Tony Oursler (US), Fiona Pardington (NZ), Lorene Taurerewa (NZ), Thomson & Craighead (UK), Brendon Wilkinson (NZ)

Spells are cast, thresholds crossed and astrological charts consulted in Occulture: The Dark Arts, opening at City Gallery Wellington on Saturday 12 August. Taking over the ground floor, the show highlights the age-old connection between art and the occult. It brings together 60 works by contemporary and historic artists, local and international, that explore occult powers, rituals and symbols.

Drawings on west wall by Lorene Taurerewa,

“History has been littered with attempts to shun or ban ‘hidden knowledge’, however, it never quite goes away. Certain periods have been open to these alternative possibilities, and we live in one such moment,” says Curator Aaron Lister, “This exhibition looks at contemporary art’s role in this resurgence of the occult.”

Lorene Taurerewa
The exhibition—which takes its name from the term ‘occulture’ coined by British academic Christopher Partridge to describe a normalising of the occult in contemporary life—features contemporary artists who push the symbolic, formal and material languages of occult traditions into new forms. Australian artist Mikala Dwyer casts a spell in the form of a wall painting. Dane Mitchell’s Ceramic Fields were made in collaboration with a Gwanju shaman through ritualistic encounters. The Liquidation Maps of Taiwanese artist Yin-Ju Chen explore possible links between atrocities in Asia and astrology. Fiona Pardington presents altars in photographic and sculptural form, and there is a perfume carrying the scent of the apocalypse by Thomson & Craighead (UK).

Featuring alongside these contemporary artists are key earlier artists and works, among them paintings by Aleister Crowley, the infamous English ceremonial magician; Rosaleen Norton, the Dunedin-born 'Witch of Kings Cross’; and Kenneth Anger’s film Lucifer Rising. This is the first time Crowley and Norton’s work have been shown in New Zealand.

Mikala Dwyer (back wall)
Dane Mitchell installation

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