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This exhibition offers occult ways to re-imagine history’s flow. Engaging with ideas of tradition, myth, mysticism and the occult, seven artists work towards alternative visions of the past and future, offering strategies for making, practicing and performing that re-conceive notions of tradition, deep time and prophecy. Poised precariously between a futuristic utopianism and nostalgic dreams of re-enchantment, these artists establish esoteric solidarities in working and making that serve to ground new, feminist histories of the self.


Odysseus was once forced to rescue his crew from the Island of the Lotus Eaters, where they had been fed the narcotic lotus fruit by island’s inhabitants and drained of their desire to return to their homeland. The Lotus Eaters faced an ironic struggle, to escape from a state of pure enjoyment. Lotus, in this sense, is the fruit of utopia, because those who eat it forget homeland, history, and materiality.  Lotus, a title chosen for its ambivalent place in the history of the West’s appetite for utopian alternatives, presents the work of artists engaged in modes of practising and performing in which ritual functions as a medium of embodied, feminist critique. Reimagining mysticism in the light of feminist thought involves a struggle against utopianism, so that the past and future can be opened up to radical reinterpretation: ritual as solidarity; myth as everyday experience; prophecy as concrete fact. Participating artists: Anna Hughes, Beatrice Loft Schulz, Holly White, Candida Powell-Williams, Mary Hurrell, Wanda Wieser and Miriam Austin.




Anna Hughes’ sculptural practice reveals emergent codes, language, and ciphers embedded within materials and on the surfaces of objects. Her interest in these patterns is related to the ritual practice of scrying and a way to connect with the unknown. Divination is a way to organize what may seem to be disjointed, random facets of existence in order to provide insight into a problem at hand. This clarity is often reflected by the materials of scrying objects such as liquids, residues, clay, wax, or the practice of looking through an aperture.

Holly White’s work frequently refers to the idea of the post-apocalypse, using epic science fiction narratives alongside everyday anecdotes. For this exhibition, she has designed a series of four large-scale flags as a site-specific sculptural installation in the gallery. Her presentation will also include a series of video works, photography and handmade objects that intertwine the narrative elements with personal materials.

Candida Powell-Williams’ sculptural and performative practice confronts the history of our attempts to navigate the absurdity of the human predicament. Our existence in a purposeless, disordered universe is punctuated with hope which some seek to find in patterns, symbols and storytelling. These constructs exemplify our tendency to imbue meaning beyond the given, and to seek a sense of control in times of uncertainty, within the limited imaginary of secular society. For this exhibition Powell-Williams presents a sculptural interpretation of a three-card tarot spread. Taking the form of small-scale dioramas, the “cards” invite the audience to complete the narratives within each space. The work is part of an on going project in which Powell-Williams reinvents the tarot figures, considering their narrative constructs and archetypes in order to explore their relationship to wellbeing, notions of pilgrimage and our identity as subjects straddling physical and digital culture.


Mary Hurrell presents a new sculpture and a photographic work exploring paradox within the feminine. The works are conduits between sensory and perceptual surfaces of imagination, memory, restraint and sensuality.

Wanda Wieser predominantly works with sculpture, print, collage and video. Recent works have incorporated aluminous cement, copper, wax, Himalayan rock salt and fabric, stimulated by research into philosophies of alchemy and geological processes. Wieser’s work is a constant oscillation between geological histories, the human mind and body, and alchemical, spiritual belief and meaning. These elements can each be nurtured in order to create a sense of calm in which the complex interrelation of human and non-human can be attended to.


Miriam Austin’s work for the exhibition emerges from an exploration of the relationship between ritual, myth, ecological fragility, and the politics of the body. Austin will develop a group of objects designed for the performance of a ritual that draws together three female folkloric figures associated with specific bodies of water. The objects are part of an on going body of work that attempts to address the entanglement of privilege, oppression and representation that always already accompanies Western interest in “native” or “folk” religions and cultures, interrogating the possible links between local mythology, global inequality and ecological disaster.


Beatrice Loft Schulz will perform Sally, a rom-com/sci-fi/rape-revenge story about a single white female looking for love in the 1990s, and an artificial intelligence robot in the future that has abolished women by learning how to fake an orgasm. Interacting with the specific theatricality of the spaces in which they take place, Loft Schulz’s performances incorporate applause, technical set-up, and silence into the construction of narrative, paying homage to feminist writers and performance artists, such as Elfriede Jelinek and Carolee Schneeman, who question the status of a woman’s body as both the natural site of moral transgression and the virtual object of the law. Her work addresses the slippage between the apparent authenticity of the embodied speaking subject and the experience of living in a body always already compromised, mediated, and observed by power. The performance took place at The Nines, across the alley, at 8pm on the opening night of the exhibition.