Mystic Fire

1 March - 4 April 2014

Private View: Friday 28 February 2014, 7-9 pm 

Aaron Aujla, Gabriele Beveridge, Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe, Leo Gabin, Tom Holmes, Kika Karadi, Richard Kern, Angel Otero, Ruairiadh O'Connell, Marianne Spurr, Jessica Warboys, Franz West

Curated by Darren Flook. With thanks to Wills Baker


For a few seconds, before the familiar voice begins, ‘the problem of American painting had been a problem of subject matter’ in Emile de Antonio's 1972 documentary Painters Painting, written in red Gaelic type, the words ‘A Mystic Fire Video’ hang, unconnected - a misplaced advert for the production company that made this classic look at painting from the 1940s to the 70s. The production company also made What is Yoga? and Moon Drum: Memories of Prehistory, so we can guess that Painters Painting was more of a lucky strike, than the result of a planned and prolonged strategy of artistic enquiry. The production title also goes mostly unnoticed by almost any viewer of the film.

It’s this misplaced advert, a wrong opening, that creates the starting point for this non academic look at a current group of artists and their influencers. Artists for whom the misplaced tag, or the ‘wrong opening’ as a reading, is a common thread.

Mystic Fire is an exhibition that explores loose, false, first readings, misplaced titles and blind alleys where abstraction shouldn’t be read as pure, painterly abstraction, documented histories slip and dodge pin-pointed definitions, and sculptural objects are more of a pointer to a life, a personal biography, a position of the artist, or an act done, than any reference to weight line, material and spatial concerns.

Mystic Fire is a street sign not to be believed, one where there’s always an echo of ‘the problem’.