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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
La Petite Muerte is kindly supported by;
http://www.vilefilms.com/ – 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.
http://www.nielsenonline.co.uk/ – Nielsen Bainbridge is one of the world’s leading producers of high quality picture framing products.
http://www.diageo.com/ – Diageo is the world’s leading premium drinks business.