Thursday 6 October 2011

The Profane Myth


Alasdair Gray, Faust in his Study (1958) Courtesy of Sorcha Dallas



Within the historic institutions of The Literary and Philosophical Society and The Mining Institute, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Monday 24 October 2011, 6.00-9.00pm

Curated by Dawn Bothwell
20 October–22 November 2011, Monday – Friday 10.00-5.00pm and Saturday 09.30-1.00pm
The Literary and Philosophical Society, 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne
The Mining Institute, Neville Hall, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne


"Metaphor is one of thought's most essential tools. It illuminates what would otherwise be totally obscure. But the illumination is sometimes so bright that it dazzles instead of revealing"
-Alasdair Gray, Lanark

In the canon of art history, artists are seen to epitomise their own era; led by decree, circumstance or their desire to understand and illustrate the age that they live in.
The Profane Myth presents artwork by Adam Chodzko, Steven Claydon, Alasdair Gray, Bradley Pitts and Damien Roach which re-examines the validity and success of Western tenet.
These works expose innadequicies within the systems of logic that we use to perceive the world around us while proposing alternative relationships between established value and belief systems.

Adam Chodzko distills the potential of collective imagination. By working with peripheral communities while alluding to traditional legend he distills the convention, hierarchy and lineage of mythology.

Steven Claydon challenges the agendas behind history's interpretation - the subjective and linear principles that are used to govern our understanding of it through it's documentation and our reading of it through education. In his work Claydon represents history in this way and looks to the power held by fictional narritive to embue an object with meaning and value.

Alasdair Gray carries a tradition from artists who have inspired him - including William Blake and Aubrey Beardsley - using art and writing combined to create an analogy wherein it is possible to visualise complex aspects of human nature and modern society. Throughout Alasdair Gray's remarkable career as a writer and artist he has shaped an uncompromising view on the very nature of these occupations. His work takes its form and inspiration from those things which shape his own understanding of the world: the city he lives in, the people around him and his education through literature; which aids the understanding of both these things.

Bradley Pitts pursues the transient experience and demonstrates a first-hand knowledge of emptiness itself. Describing his work as a form of ontological research in which the "empty", and therefore the "real", are at stake. Subverting the positivist values of his working methods, he restores science and technology to a place where they can be used to investigate philosophical questions and subjective realities.

Damien Roach challenges the systems of interpretation and value which we use to understand the world around us; transparently presenting artifice in order to show the fallibility of expression and interpretation through visual, written and audible record. Illustrating the close proximity between fact and myth Roach illuminates the frequent trade-off between these two principles and acknowledges the foundations of understanding; a guided vision interpreted through simulation.

Alasdair Gray - Reading at The Literary and Philosophical Society - Saturday 19 November 2011, 12 Noon
Free, Limited - Booking required - 0191 232 0192<>
Alasdair Gray will perform a reading from his recent play Fleck and from Goethe's Faust, which inspired his modern adaptation.
Adam Chodzko - Ghost - Throughout the exhibition
Ghost - a custom built kayak - hosts it's passenger in the front carriage positioned lying down in isolation. It's design harnesses the sensation of floating over the water and connects experience with the Greek myth of Charon and the ferrymen of Hades .
Throughout the duration of the exhibiton Ghost will leave The Mining Institute library and take a selection of passengers along the river tyne from the location of the former Armstrong Works factory. Footage taken of Ghost's journies on the River Tyne will be shown alongside the work within The Mining Institute library.
Daily Tours - Monday-Friday 12.15 and Saturday 10.15 starting inside The Lit & Phil Library Entrance
Free but booking required -<>
Daily Film Screening - Monday-Friday 1.00 and Saturday 11.00 - Steven Claydon, The Ancient Set and Adam Chodzko, Echo in The Mining Institute Lecture Theatre

Located here:


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Copyright © 2011 Dawn Bothwell, All rights reserved.

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