Twenty-First-Century Silks, 2016

Twenty-First-Century Silks (excerpt)

Twenty-First-Century Silks, 2016

Jonathan Allen

If Karl Rove [political advisor to George W. Bush] has opportunistically misdirected the perceptions of a post-Baudrillardian, media-sated, and reality-disoriented electorate, then in so doing he has become a war magician for an era of permanent war (...)
- Jonathan Allen, Deceptionists at War in Cabinet, Issue 26, Summer 2007

Twenty-First-Century Silks is a video installation in which Jonathan Allen explores the cultural history of secular magic and its resonances within the political realm.In this work, Allen recalls an era of stage magic when conjuring acts with brightly coloured silks and flags were commonplace in vaudeville performance. Two hands emerge from darkness to perform with magician’s silks. The silks unfurl in tantalising slow motion to reveal popular icons and abstract nouns such as “Faith”, “Fear” and “War”. By sequencing and looping these inscrutable communications, Allen encourages - and exposes - the viewer’s tendency to construe meaning from unrelated fragments.

Jonathan Allen (UK)
°1966, Londen

Jonathan Allen is a visual artist and writer based in London. In his practice he explores the politics of enchantment and various magics at play within late modernity. His work has been exhibited recently at Ryan Lee Gallery (New York, 2016), Stanley Picker Gallery (London, 2016) and MASS MoCA (USA, 2016-17). Allen’s recent writing has featured in Truth is Concrete – A Handbook For Artistic Strategies in Real Politics (Sternberg Press, 2014), Notes on The Magic of the State (Lisson Gallery & Beirut, 2013) and Curiosity and Method: Ten Years of Cabinet Magazine (Cabinet Books, 2012). Allen is a curator at The Magic Circle Museum, London, where in 2013 he rediscovered a forgotten tarot deck hand-painted in 1906 by the English artist and mystic Austin Osman Spare. His subsequent book Lost Envoy is published by Strange Attractor Press (2016). In 2009 he initiated and co-curated the Hayward Gallery touring exhibition Magic Show.

21 FEB - 9 MAR 2017


opening hours expo

21 Feb: 19:30-23:00 (opening)
22 Feb – 9 Mar: 
We–Sa  14:00-22:00 
Su–Tu  14:00-19:00

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