ABSINTHE §1 — 3
Collective Ending, London
Written on the occation of ABSINTHE, a series of 3 major exhibitions of emerging artists over the course of 12 months presented at the Spit & Sawdust Pub in Bermondsey, South London (23 February — 15 May 2019)
The exhbition text focused on associations of the eponymous drink, absinthe, evoking a hybrid, eclectic and at points inexplicable presentation of the weirder side of London’s emerging art scene; a kaleidoscopic trip into the city’s alternative art practices.
“ABSINTHE. Curious love of the sordid and the extravagant. Muse of the weird, twisted and eerie. Throughout its short history, absinthe has passed from antiseptic to vermicide, honorary salute to morphological being. It is ghostly and mutinous. It is no surprise that absinthe has long persisted in the underground, from Joyce to Baudelaire, Rimbaud to van Gogh. It was prolific amongst artists and writers of the boulevards of modern Paris: mystic visions of the Moulin Rouge, images that bled from their canvas with ane merald sorcery: hypnotic, aberrant and erotic.
We have found the powers of absinthe lie beyond the natural and of nature; it is a phantom, aghost, an apparition. To drink absinthe is to taste magic. To pull back the curtain and see the other-worldly, the hidden and the clandestine. It is the love-drunk clamour of a birdsong after dark; a trill screech of obscenity from deep within the jungle. Swirling inside its harlequin eyes is a potent concoction of macerated herbs, wormwood, aniseed and fennel. Served through the ritual of La Louche, its billowing stomach creates a seeing stone, endowing its subject with fantasies beyond their control: hallucinations, delusions and fever-dreams.
Comprising 3 major exhibitions of emerging artists over the course of 12 months, ABSINTHE is a hybrid, eclectic, and at points inexplicable presentation of the weirder side of London’s emerging art scene. Located at the Spit & Sawdust pub, Bermondsey, each exhibition will present a mandala of artists that cut and splice between mediums and styles; a kaleidoscopic trip into the city’s current alternative art practices. Combined with a collectively run programme of performances, screenings, talks, gigs, publications, open calls, guest curators and more, ABSINTHE is a gesamtkunstwerk of the weirdest and wildest order.