Around this time last year I presented Artemis of the Lea, my vision of a riverine fertility goddess celebrating human waste as part of natural cycles of renewal and rebirth.
Continuing several of these themes, this year I am showing Medusa of the Mushrooms in TERRA NEXUS, an exhibition interrogating the role of the human as part of ecology. Curated by Gabriella Sonabend for Proposition Studios.
These bulbous Medusae are not the decapitated monsters of Greek myth, but refer to a more ancient heritage of chthonic goddesses and the masked seeresses interpreting voices that echo from deep within the earth.
The installation re-envisages them as the spirits of our sewerage systems, a dank, wet world breeding urban legends like alligators, ninja turtles and fatbergs. A system that supports our everyday lives – invisible, unseen – yet gathering, digesting and recycling all of our viruses, DNA, recreational chemicals, bodily fluids, lifebloods.
The figures are made of living mushroom mycelium, and blossom with edible grey oysters – a noted mycoremediator species. The sculptures are not within my control, they take their own path to fruit.
Walls are covered with line drawings that entwine ideas of labyrinths, cosmic diagrams and infrastructural plans, and which are suggestive of the curlicues of copper and other rare metals (pipes, cables) that lie beneath us latent and interlaced. The walls effloresce with Gorgon-esque masks: glow-in-the-dark heads emerging from the blackness like bioluminescent mould.
Neither plant nor animal, but a creepy in-between: a carnivore of rotting flesh; a grotesque, gut-ter-al goddess; sacred and profane.
Wednesdays – Sundays 11am – 7pm
10 Oct – 30 Dec 2020
The exhibition is across multiple spaces and visitors experience the artworks under socially-distancing, and is permissible under Tier 2 restrictions.
£10 full price
Surrey Wharf, 30 Malt St, off Old Kent Rd, London SE1 5AY Map
(Building with the tree mural, left hand door, ring the doorbell)
Tube: Elephant & Castle or New Cross Gate then Bus 21, 53, 78, 172, 453
Parking is available in the retail park for 2-3 hours