We managed to get hold of artistic director and curator James Elphick from Guerrilla Zoo to talk about the third installment of Modern Panic just before his busy week ahead.
Could you explain the concept surrounding the Modern Panic series in further detail.
Modern Panic is loosely based around an art movement started in Paris in 1962 formed by cult film maker Alejandro Jodorowsky, Fernando Arrabal & Roland Topor.
Inspired by and named after the god Pan, and influenced by Luis Buñuel and Antonin Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty, the group concentrated on chaotic happenings containing performance art and surreal imagery, designed to be shocking, as a response to surrealism becoming petite bourgeoisie and to release destructive energies in search of peace and beauty. For this series of exhibitions I am displaying work which has a resonance in the viewer, whether that is a good or a bad one, it’s designed to provoke a reaction that can’t be found in most regular art exhibitions.
When curating the show were there specific artists or art mediums you wanted to cover and why?
I prefer to showcase all mediums and forms of art, newcomers alongside established artists. There are artists that I admire and invite to take part in the exhibition but I also create an open call to all international artists to submit work. This year we had an overwhelming response and it took many months to whittle the talent down to the last few finalists. This year I particularly wanted this year to showcase live art’s practitioners and have created a short series of riotous live art’s evenings as part of the exhibition – The Panic Sermon’s will take place at the opening event, on Tuesday 27th Nov and Sunday 2nd Dec. Details can be found here www.guerrillazoo.com/
What would you say are your top 3 pieces attendees should take a look at and why?
Brion Gysin’s Dreamachine
– A stroboscopic flicker device which induces the most amazing visual hallucinations. Inspired people such as William S Burroughs, Aldous Huxley & Kurt Cobain. Gysin believed that by offering the world a drugless high the invention could revolutionize human consciousness.
– For over 38 years Charlie has been imprisoned, 33 of those in solitary confinement. Contrary to popular belief, Charlie has never harmed anyone outside of the prison walls. He has never taken a life. His sentence has been repeatedly extended for fighting the system. He’s main release is through his art which is a powerful reflection of his surroundings and life. We are very lucky to have some of his work to display.
– An Amsterdam based artist who creates wonderfully crafted character based sculptures. The sculptures are mostly made of a compilation of organic materials such as bones, insects and plants and are heavily influenced by folklore and mythology.
Are there any pieces in particular that you think really push boundaries in the art world today?
I’ve designed the exhibition to connect with the individual, some of the pieces I would consider very powerful and boundary breaking, to others the same piece might not have the same effect. It’s a very personal provocation. Who is to say what is good and what is bad art other than the viewer themselves. This itself mirrors only what that individual finds acceptable and pleasing to their soul.
What type of audience would you say the Modern Panic series is directed at?
The exhibition is aimed at everyone, although some of the works might be for those of a certain age, it is designed to be accessible to anyone who is open to something a little unusual.
As Modern Panic is a very surreal collection of work, what would you say was the best was to approach the exhibition?
The best way to approach the exhibition is with an open mind and heart and see which works make your spine tingle or your head swoon or you eyes turn!
Sum up the series in 3 words.
Psyche Exploding Art!
The Modern Panic 3 exhibition based at Apiary Studios is open from Friday the 23rd of November from 6pm-10pm (press and tickets only) and then open to the public from the 24th – 2nd from 11am till 8pm daily.