We were not disappointed.
‘Victoriana: The Art of Revival’ is a new exhibition housed in The City of London’s Guildhall Art Gallery. As quaint and unassuming as its name may suggest, the exhibit was far from it. With works from artists from all disciplines and backgrounds, as well as people famous enough that we learnt about them in art GCSE like Grayson Perry and Yinka Shonibare, the exhibition focuses on the idea of Victorian revivalism in the modern age; drawing comparisons with the modern fascination for the weird and weirder to the Victorian obsession with death, the afterlife and the supernatural.
London-based artist Tessa Farmer’s ‘Mignon, Ambushed by a Mob of Fairies’was one of the most impressive and morbidly fascinating things we saw. Her work incorporated hundreds of insect carcasses suspended from the ceiling by wires being ridden by tiny figures with swords and spears ready for a very tiny battle around a statue. CULTURE GANG can confirm that Farmer’s piece is almost definitely in the running for the world record for Most Dead Things Stuck on to Other Dead Things.
Paul St George’s ‘Geistlich Tube’ (Ghostly Tube) is a device created to witness the manifestation of spirits or ghosts. He draws on the Victorian fascination with death and even prompts people in the gallery to tweet him (@telectroscope with the hashtage #geistlich) if they witness such a manifestation.
Some of the slightly less macabre works were still as impressive (and also slightly easier to stomach on a hangover). Mat Collishaw’s ‘Magic Lantern’uses strobe lighting and creepy moths to show the Victorian fascination for raving, while Stephen Kenny’s letterpress revival work instructed, nay ordered us to ‘DRINK MORE GIN’ which we duly did. We also got samosas afterwards and they were excellent.
This exhibition is perfect for creatives in search of inspiration or weird shit to see, as well as any other budding CULTURE GANGS looking for new experiences in the city.
Victoriana: The Art of Revival is running from 7th September – 8th December 2013 at Guildhall Art Gallery, City of London
Entrance fee: £7 (£5 for students and concessions)
Closest tube stations: Moorgate (Northern, Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines), Bank (Northern, Central, Circle, District Lines), Mansion House [Bow Lane Exit] (Circle, District Lines), St. Paul’s (Central Line)
- The exhibition is housed in the Guildhall Art Gallery, deep in the heart of the ancient and bizarre City of London. This is apparently not to be confused with regular London. We learnt that it’s in fact one of two cities, inside another city, inside a country inside another country…
- Guildhall is the ceremonial and administrative centre of the Corporation of London, which many of the crazier conspiracy nuts in the deeper parts of the internet would argue is the centre of some sort of Illuminati-Rothschild-Bilderberg hybrid organisation who run the world.
- As if that’s all not far-fetched and ridiculous enough, the City is “guarded” by Gog and Magog, two biblical giants represented by some pretty crazy carvings as well as 7 foot wicker effigies. (And as we always say, it’s not a proper day out if there aren’t any effigies involved).
- Guildhall was also the venue for the trials of some of the gunpowder plot conspirators, some martyrs and people with very excellent names like Sir Nicholas Throckmorton.
Words by MS