Bora Akinciturk, Anna Clegg, Ella Fleck, Allan Gardner, Eric Heist, Tarzan Kingofthejungle, Daniel Lucey, Genesis P-Orridge, Sophie Ruigrok, Nour El Saleh, Adrian Schachter
Opening Night: Fri 22 Sep, 6—9 pm
Exhibition: Sat 23 Sep — Sat 7 Oct
Opening Times: Tue— Sat, 11 am—6 pm
Opening Night: Tue 10 Oct, 6—9 pm
Exhibition: Wed 11 Oct — Sat 28 Oct
Opening Times: Tue — Sat, 11 am—6 pm
(SECOND HALF EVENTS)
Ella Fleck, Small Cell
Performers: Calum Bowen, George Dyson
Performer: Lawrence Kirk
Tuesday 10 October, 7 — 9 pm
(TOUR & READINGS)
Curator’s Tour: Led by Vanessa Murrell
Essay Reading: Phin Jennings
Short Fiction Reading: Gabriella Pounds
Sunday 15 October, 1 — 2pm
Unit 2 Cassia Building
97-101 Hackney Road
Shoreditch, London, E2 8ET
“There are no whole truths; all truths are half-truths. It is trying to treat them as whole truths that plays the devil” – Alfred North Whitehead
Drawing its title from philosopher Alfred North Whitehead’s assertion that “all truths are half-truths” (Dialogues, 1954), Half Truths delves into interpretations of reality, the validity of objective truth, the constraints of human perception, and the evolving landscape of knowledge. It invites us to explore hidden dimensions and diverse viewpoints in the quest for new modes of understanding.
Half Truths is an exhibition split into two parts, the first half running from 22 September to 7 October, and the second from 10 October to 29 October. Eleven contemporary artists present new artworks spanning installation, painting, sculpture and video. While the artists and space remain consistent, their works alternate, symbolising multitudinous possibilities and the divided self. The exhibition’s split is conductive to a progression, though the origin and destination remain undefined.
For the first half, the idea of active, subjective perception is explored as a means of engaging with reality. Themes span gnosticism, fan culture, technology anxiety, speculative ecosystems, marine evolution theory, accelerationism, androgyny, conspiracy theories, personal histories, and alchemy, offering imagined suggestions for rejecting a singular, objective truth.
The second half offers potential answers to the speculations in its counterpart, frequently leading to more sombre conclusions. Myths and fantasies collide with the unsettling reality of their lived consequences, and fictionalised atmospheres turn from air to grease. Here, artists echo, amplify, or underscore the messages initially introduced, allowing for a more comprehensive understanding of their investigations.
Bora Akinciturk, Allan Gardner and Daniel Lucey, explore reality through the unstable lens of the subjective. Bora Akinciturk’s large-scale paintings, constructed from amalgamations of Internet imagery and personal drawings, rely on unconscious, affective association to unpack their varying themes —accelerationism, reality, internal and external forces, good and evil, and the role of chance. Allan Gardner, on the other hand, retrieves his paintings’ source material from the candid party photos of adolescents dating back to his teenage years, sourced from the image-sharing website Flickr. His dual channel film, which shows found footage of football riots and iPhone-shot construction workers in Leeds, highlights the societal unrest and growing frustration stemming from the manipulative distortion of truth and fiction. As ”a self-portrait and a portrait of another”, Daniel Lucey’s paintings are rooted in written poetry, incorporating language, emotion, memory and personal histories simultaneously. Like Akinciturk, Lucey’s work avoids a linear, universal history in favour of one misremembered and exaggerated. Layers of paint are meticulously applied and removed, merging figures, landscapes, and interiors in an interpolation between the body and the world.
Anna Clegg, Genesis P-Orridge and Sophie Ruigrok approach truth through the malleable plane of identity. They see it as a shifting prism to be disassembled and reassembled, constantly in flux. Anna Clegg’s paintings explore identity from an incorporeal position. Utilising material collected from Hollywood movies, music videos, teen-oriented magazines and her own photographic archive, the images in her work are just that: images. These reappropriated figures serve to consider the concept of submitting oneself unconditionally to an image, in an act of obsession or empathy. Her works present a body rejected in favour of a self-constructed fantasy. Genesis P-Orridge’s Shoe Horn sculptures similarly question not only binary gender but the necessity of a body itself, in favour of a consciousness free of its physical form. In h/er work s/he suggests a bodiless existence, one focussed on Pandrogeny and the significance of ritual and mysticism. H/er sculptures explore human relations and sentiments towards banal objects, which s/he describes as “forming an unwritten, universal language”. Sophie Ruigrok’s drawings show bodies pulling apart, and merging back together, as if in an act of cellular division and multiplication. These works, in particular, investigate the divided self, drawing inspiration from the androgynous, two-headed figures found in alchemical diagrams. Rooted in alchemy’s tenet of the breaking down of materials to achieve transformation, she explores notions of a fixed identity, and the dialectical position of existing as both an individual and as a part of a larger collective body.
Ella Fleck, Tarzan Kingofthejungle, Nour el Saleh and Adrian Schachter use alternative collective consciousnesses of faith, archetype and conspiracy to skew mainstream perceptions of the objective. Between installation, performance and sculpture, Ella Fleck’s work addresses our contemporary paranoias and fixations to the internet, relationships and mobile phones. Creating scenes of disembodied, stuck or characters unable to self-actualise, she pools research from Disney’s Pinnochio, internet 5G conspiracy forums and the Sirens in Homer’s Odyssey to create industrially-finished works of humour, anxiety and longing. Tarzan Kingofthejungle’s works, consisting of a floor-and-ceiling installation and a wall-based diptych, reference historical ideologies of mysticism and duality. He utilises the later writings of Carl Jung on Gnosticism and the Demon-God Abraxas, and hints at a number of unseen, archetypal presences through precise processes and arrangements. Nour el Saleh’s paintings offer a fictionalised landscape inhabited by distorted humanoid figures. Ranging from bodily limbs that grow disproportionately from one another to humanised proxies for data-collection technology, these imagined scenarios address the social and psychological implications of the existent issues mirrored by their fantastical counterparts. Not dissimilarly, Adrian Schachter’s practice provides a critical examination of humans’ fantasies of evolution and unknown, intelligent deep-marine life, specifically through the figure of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid. Drawing parallels between the famous children’s story, alternative theories on biomarine evolution and real-life incidents of orca attacks on fishermen, Schachter dismantles the fetishisation of these creatures, using their mistreatment and their response of uprising as an uncomfortable parallel between fiction and reality.
Collectively, these artists weave a complex dialogue that urges viewers to question the foundations of their perceptions of reality. It invites exploration into the power of storytelling and confronts the nuanced territories of truth and deception. This exhibition prompts an introspection on the construction of actuality in our contemporary society, where truths are malleable, and illusions linger on the edge of our consciousness.
(ABOUT THE LIVE PERFORMANCE)
On the opening night for the second half of Half Truths, Ella Fleck presents Small Cell. This durational performance features three distinct archetypes interacting with the artist’s semi-fictionalised 5G tower installation. Soundscapes mimic the hum of technology, drawing parallels to Homer’s Odyssey and our modern anxieties about 5G technology.