The Dark Monarch: magic and modernity in British art
Rowlands, A., Bracewell, B. and Clark, M. (2009) The Dark Monarch: magic and modernity in British art. [Show/Exhibition]
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Official URL: http://www.tate.org.uk/stives/exhibitions/dark-mon...
This major curated exhibition, publication and events builds on Rowlands’ curatorial research. Working in collaboration with co-curators Martin Clark, Artistic Director, Tate St Ives and Michael Bracewell, cultural historian, the exhibition sought to explore new narratives within British art. The innovative curatorial methodology developed from a fiction found in the infamous novel, The Dark Monarch by Sven Berlin, Gallery Press 1962. The research sought specific archival and collection work that allowed thematic strands to emerge that represented influences across generations. The exhibition features two-hundred artworks, from the Tate Collection, archives and other significant British public and private collections. It examines the development of early Modernism, in the UK, as well as the reappearance of esoteric and arcane references in a significant strand of contemporary art practice. Historical works from Samuel Palmer, Graham Sutherland, Henry Moore and Paul Nash are shown alongside contemporary artists including Derek Jarman, Cerith Wyn Evans, Eva Rothschild, Linder and John Russell. The exhibition includes a key work by Damien Hirst ¬ the first time he has been shown at Tate St Ives and a number of contemporary commissions. The Dark Monarch publication extended the discourse of the research critically examining the tension between progressive modernity and romantic knowledge, the book focuses on the way that artworks are encoded with various histories - geological, mythical and magical. Essays examine magic as a counterpoint to modernity’s transparency and rational progress, but also draw out the links modernity has with notions such as fetishism, mana, totem, and the taboo. Often viewed as counter to Modernism, this collection of essays suggest that these products of illusion and delusion in fact belong to modernity. Drawing together 15 different writers commissioned to explore magic as a counterpoint of liberal understanding of modernity, drawing out links that modernity has with notions of fetish, taboo and occult philosophy. Including essays by Marina Warner, Ilsa Colsell, Philip Hoare, Chris Stephens, Jennifer Higgie and Morrissey.