ORGAN THING: Queer as Folklore at Gallery 46, what a lot of Maypoles….

Queer as Folklore at East London’s Gallery46, an art show that “examines the subversive dark depths of English Pagan history”, it was a few weeks back now and yes, just about better late than never, we were rather looking forward to it, the show promised lots, not sure if it fullly delivered, not sure about those “subversive depths” and was it rather macho in places? A little too Current 93 and something wicked this way comes maybe?  A group show in that beautiful Gallery 46 space over in Whitechapel –

To celebrate re-emergence this spring we are staging a provocative group show, gathering together for the first time, a diverse collection of LGBTQIA artists whose multi disciplinary work examines the subversive dark depths of English pagan history and explores the lost world of rituals, rites, fantasy and folly. Painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, performance, music and film will be exhibited by contributing artists – Bishi Bhattacharya, Paul Bommer, Kit Boyd, Caroline Coon, James Dearlove, Ben Edge, David Harrison, Paul Kindersley, Jim Pilston & Tracy Watt

There was some powerful art, undoubtedly so, some rather beautifully created art, the history of pagan queerness and the rejection of mainstream ideas is without a doubt fascinating. And it did open on May day, the cusp where Spring turns to summer thoughts, Beltranem, it was timed just right as we came out of lockdown (it was the first time we’d had an actual beer in an actual gallery while to talking ot someone we didn;t jnow for more than a year). The start of May, sap rising, maypoles and in this case a lot of other erections – ritualistic whatever you see – there were a lot of big erections. not sure how radical or nonconformist it actually was, we weren’t talking Gazelle Twin and her pagan tracksuits, there was something very last century about Queer as Folklore, it did feel like days past rather than days future, it kind of needed both. It was a beautiful show though, there was some beautiful art, some powerful art, some very strong art,- oh for a label or two under a painting, is it really that difficult to just put a name, a date and a title under a painting?

We weren’t at the open night, I guess we missed a lot in terms of the performance, the costume, the ritual, the heart o the show, the “subversive”?  The images we saw on social media looked rather good, it does feel like the actual May Day and the opening was an essential part. We’re here in the peace and quiet of the last days of the actual exhibition – and it is a very good very strong exhibition, it does feel like a powerful group dynamic in here, there are impressive pieces hanging on the walls and standing on the plinths. Really do love lots of it, but there are reservations, there are questions, and it feels like we missed out, that the opening was the essential part  and well, a little late with the coverage and no names for the artists but here it is, it does feel like an important show that needs to be documented, we’ll just park these words and images here, it was good, it was strong, it clearly was significant, it was (mostly) rather good, some of it special, those maypoles were impressive, I wanted more of the Captain’s Table, but then I have been expploring Webcore rather a lot again recently, fine show, do wish we’d made the opening night, damn.  (sw)     

Further reading

Do click on an image to enlarge or to run the slide show…

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