Friday, May 12, 2017

As Above, So Below







An Edited version of this appeared in the Sunday Times Culture magazine on the 30 April 2017. 
It’s in our nature occasionally to lift our snouts from the trough, look upwards, and ask ourselves Captain Boyle’s deathless question: “what is the stars?” As Above, So Below aims to stimulate this spiritual questing through the work of 40 artists, ranging from Hilma af Klint to Bruce Nauman. The title of the show is taken from the opening lines of the Hermetica, one of the key texts of occultism. The dark side is explored by number of the artists (including Kenneth Anger and Cameron) who claim allegiance to the Great Beast Aleister Crowley. Patrick Pye’s stagey Old Testament scenes (with their faint whiff of El Greco) may inspire no great feelings of awe in these secular times but few will not be moved by Grace Weir’s superb In Parallel - a 20 minute video concerning Euclid’s Elements. This illustrated geometry lesson is accompanied by philosophical ruminations on man’s repudiation of nature in favour of abstraction. Give yourself time to explore this exhibition – it’s a hugely entertaining and frequently thought-provoking magical mystery tour.   Irish Museum of Modern Art   John P. O'Sullivan.