Sunday, March 16, 2008

Eric Bainbridge, Darren Banks, Catherine Bertola, Peter J. Evans, Richard Rigg, Cecilia Stenbom, Matt Stokes, Miles Thurlow: "King Fisher's Tales"

19/03/08 – 03/05/08

Private view 18/03/08 6 - 9pm

57 Ewer Street, London, SE1 0NR

And a man stood there, as still as moss,
A lichen form that stared;
With an old blind hound that, at a loss,
Forever around him fared,
With a snarling fang half bared.

I looked at the man; I saw him plain;
Like a dead weed, gray and wan,
Or a breath of dust. I looked again -
And man and dog were gone,
Like wisps of the graying dawn...

Madison Cawein, Wasteland 1913

UNION & Workplace Gallery are pleased to announce King Fisher’s Tales, a group exhibition bringing together works by a diverse group of 19 artists including Eric Bainbridge, Neil Baker, Darren Banks, Catherine Bertola, Rick Buckley, Joe Clark, Francine Demarco, Peter J. Evans, Colin Guillemet, Henry Krokatsis, Aidan Latimerj, Tonico Lemos Auad, Rory Macbeth, John Negus, David Raymond Conroy, Richard Rigg, Cecilia Stenbom, Matt Stokes and Miles Thurlow.

Central to this exhibition is the wounded and enigmatic figure of the Fisher King found variously in Christian and Pagan mythologies. Best known to Arthurian romances, the character was first introduced in 1190 in an unfinished text by the French poet Chretien de Troyes. Numerous versions of this legend make it a complex and amorphous story, each author’s account inconsistent with another and rarely resolutely resolved. However each share a sense of a spiritual quest, the mysterious Fisher King at its heart.

Charged with the keeping of the Holy Grail the Fisher King, mysteriously debilitated by a wound that never heals and in constant pain, takes to fishing in the waters beside his castle. When the King is injured his kingdom falls into enchantment and is devastated in kind, his impotence mirrored by a barren wasteland.

Readings of the Fisher King character cast him variously as a symbol of good and evil, sterility and fertility, God and humanity and the myth has been propagated into modernity through re-workings by Richard Wagner, TS Eliot, and Madison Cawein.

Like the many authors of this legend, the artists have embarked on their own quest for the spiritual, casting their own fishing lines into a tangled web of possibilities - of affirmation, of celebration, of cynicism, of ambivalence. By re-visiting this paradoxical legend, they explore what it might mean to be spiritual now, and where that quest might lead.

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