Press & Press Release

A review of La Petite Muerte by Noa Edwards from Art & Exhibit here

La Petite Muerte

A group exhibition exploring contemporary notions of mortality, sex, rituals and icons.
In celebration of Mexico’s Día de los Muertos – Day of the Dead.

Private View – Thursday 1st November 7-11pm
Open Thursday – Sunday 6-9pm until 11th November
Drawers Gallery, The Haggerston, 438 Kingsland Rd, London, E8.

Intentionally badly translated, La Petite Muerte takes the French term La Petite Mort, ‘the little death’ and creates a hybrid with Día de los Muertos – the Mexican Day of the Dead.
Life and death, the beginning and the end.
Blessed as we all are with the gift of self-knowledge, and the awareness of our own mortality, the artist still strives to leave a mark on a universe that is as indifferent as it is vast. Even the Mona Lisa will one day turn to dust, her enigmatic smile long gone in a world unimagined at her point of conception.
Artists often use gallows humour to express these contradictions. In uncertain times, when the world outside seems to be in constant flux a black sense of humour can often help reassure the ‘condemned’. Art offers a light at the end of the tunnel. The chance to create something that expresses our experiences and lives outside, and we hope, beyond our own existence. This approach is evident in much of the work in La Petite Muerte.

La petite mort can refer to the ‘spiritual’ release or to a short period of melancholy or transcendence that comes with an orgasm. This expenditure of “life force”, the feeling that scientists tell us is caused by the release of oxytocin in the brain, speaks of the energy we use in creating something new. A new life or a new artwork, both are created through the sacrificing of something of ourselves. The term is often used in relation to the creative process, noting the correlation between creation and expenditure of ‘life’. The literary critic Roland Barthes spoke of la petite mort as the main objective for reading literature. He used the concept as a metaphor in describing the feeling the reader should get when experiencing any great literature.
Established and emerging artists exhibit alongside each other dealing with this dichotomy of creation and destruction. The work touches on the themes of life and death, love and hate, rituals and icons, sex, war and im/mortality.

Like the Día de los Muertos in Mexico, La Petite Muerte is a celebration. It evokes the rituals we develop, individually and culturally to cope with the uncertainty and temporary nature of our lives.
Live performances on the opening night from Karolina Magnusson-Murray & Mark Scott-Wood.

Peter Ainsworth   Dave Anderson   Henrietta Armstrong   Keith Ball   Fiona Banner   Ruth Bartlett   Adam Beale   Tom Butler   David Chalkley  Angela Corcoran   Kevin Clarke   David R Fenwick   Caro Halford   Kirsty Harris   Sarah Jacobs  Ben Jamie   Joshua Knowles   Abigail Lingford   Karolina Magnusson-Murray   Ros Maprayil   Hugh Mendes   Moorland Productions   Julia Miranda   Tracy Neal   Jane Oldfield   Luca Ortis   Charley Peters   David Porter   Mark Scott-Wood,  Patricia Shrigley   Paul Stanley   Susanna Thornton   Ventiko   Jemma Watts   Sarah West   Lucy Woodhouse

Text by Paul Stanley.

Top Images – Tom Butler Castine, Adam Beale The Thinker, Kirsty Harris Catherine.

Bottom images – Kevin Clarke Love Sexy, Ben Jamie Sparrowfall, Julia Miranda Unmoored 1 to 3.

Exhibition curated by Kirsty Harris.

To arrange interviews with the artists involved or to obtain images for press use please contact –


La Petite Muerte is kindly supported by; – Vile Films is a London based production company that produces innovative and beautifully shot promotional videos for musicians and campaigns as well as their own short films. – Nielsen Bainbridge is one of the world’s leading producers of high quality picture framing products. – Diageo is the world’s leading premium drinks business.


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