Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Galerie Susanne Zander @ INDEPENDENT, NY

Galerie Susanne Zander at the Independent 2013, March 7–10
New York:

 The Occult in Art: 
The Artist As A Medium 

Thomas Glendenning Hamilton, Margarethe Held
Agatha Wojciechowsky
& a selection of occult voices and paranormal music  

Preview: Thursday, March 7th, 12 - 4 pm 
Voices from another world that impel to draw and paint, supernatural beings that dictate entire passages of text, spirits from beyond that draw attention to themselves with scratching or knocking sounds and mediums who speak unheard languages: occult practices, séances, trances and magic may have long been met with suspicion in the world of high culture, but somewhere in the underbelly of art there has been a lurking fascination and a quiet but steady influence of paranormal phenomena in artistic production which can be traced back as far as the mid-1800s.

On occasion of the Independent 2013, Galerie Susanne Zander will show works by the following mediumistic artists: 
Agatha Wojciechowsky (1896 -1986, born in Steinach, Germany) experienced her first visions at the age of four. In 1923 she emigrated to the United States, where she worked as a maid, a seamstress, a laundress, and a kitchen helper. In a circle of insiders, she was also known as a medium and a spiritual healer. In 1951 she began to draw countless mediumistic drawings in which eerie spectral faces can be perceived through a maze of abstract forms and graphic symbols.

Margarete Held (1894 -1981, born in Mettingen, Germany) married in 1921,but would lose her husband only four years later. Shortly after her father died. After WWII she became increasingly engaged in occult practices. While attempting to communicate with her dead husband in 1950, she was contacted by the spirit of „Siva, the god of Indians and Mongolians“. Under Siva's guidance she made hundreds of mediumistic pencil and crayon drawings, portraying the dead, ghosts, gods, imaginary primeval beasts, and runes. These drawings and numerous reports on various trips to Jupiter and other planets are recounted in her book Unkontrollierbares Universum (Uncontrollable Universe).

Dr. Thomas Glendenning Hamilton (1873-1935) was a highly respected surgeon practicing in Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada). In 1921 he began to investigate psychic phenomena, namely telekinesis (levitation of objects by paranormal means) and the production of so-called ectoplasm. In 1928 Hamilton started to document the séances with cameras and a flash. Many of his photographs show the medium Mary Marshall who was able to produce ectoplasmic forms, sometimes bearing the likeness of a human faces or hands. An account of his highly controversial work can be found in Intention and Survival, posthumously published by his wife and their son in 1942. 

MARGARETHE HELD, Gisela de Musase, chalk on paper, 42 x 28 cm, Courtesy Galerie Susanne Zander

Next to these three mediumistic artists we will present a unique selection of audio recordings of from the compilation Recordings Of Unseen Intelligences, 1905-2007: Occult Voices – Paranormal Music edited by Andreas Fischer & Thomas Knoefel and released by the supposé editions, Berlin. To be heard are occult voices and paranormal music such as a glossolalia dated from 1987 or a five minute recording of a trance-breathing session by Rudi Schneider from 1937 in which he hyperventilates at up to 300 breaths per minute highly reminiscent of the origins of performance art. The auditory part of the exhibition offers a new perspective and experience of mediumistic art, repositioning it within the contemporary context.

Amidst the changing working and living conditions in the heyday of industrialization spiritualist practices provided an escape from the dreary routine of everyday life. The turn to supernatural phenomena also corresponded to the philosophical fashion of the time, such as in the concept of Henri Bergson's "élan vital”, the philosophy of life and energy. And if the excesses of the Enlightenment, with its all-corrosive reason and its sobering points of view brought a human distance through analysis and logic, it also created a breading ground for a counter-movement in the second half of the 19th century: the pleasure in the fantastic and the return of the illusionary and the miracle. The First World War would later reassert the need for the supernatural or as Freud would put it “the realm that life on earth has lost”. A re- enchantment of the world could once again be experienced. In 1933, André Breton compared the inexplicable phenomena with the art of the Surrealists in his essay “Le message automatique” and so, after it has prior founds its way into the heart of the Dadaists and Expressionists, the occult had once an for all found its irrevocable place in the arts, contributing significantly to the development of modern aesthetics and the redefinition of the relationship between artist and work. 
We look forward to your visit!
March 7–10, 2013

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