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Left: Li Hei Di ‘Snake Sisters’ Right: Jack Laver ‘Dying days’
ZÉRUÌ - a new exhibition programme - is proud to announce its inaugural exhibition: A/D D/A at 108 Fleet Street, London. A/D D/A brings together 19 artworks by eight contemporary artists working across several disciplines: Daniel Spivakov, Jack Laver, Mia Vallance, Li Hei Di, Jack Sommerville, Bradley Childs, Yage Guo and Alexander Carey Morgan. The exhibition explores the duality of two Greek gods - Apollo and Dionysus - and their influence on Western art from the ancient world to the 21st century.
Just over one hundred years ago, German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche became preoccupied with the Ancient Greek Gods, Apollo and Dionysus. In his 1872 book, The Birth of Tragedy, he argued not only that most Western Art is indebted to the Greeks, but also that it is indebted to these two divine entities. For Nietzsche, Apollo represents order: ‘measured limitation’,‘the philosophical calmness of the sculptor-god’, and Dionysus represents chaos: the ‘collapse’ of individuality; ‘drunkenness’, but also birth, becoming, and divine inspiration. To make the perfect Greek Tragic Play (or any art, in fact), Nietzsche suggests you need a healthy dose of both. Beyond this formal aesthetic distinction, Nietzsche also reflects on why the ‘cult’ of Dionysus has such a hold over Greek thought, influencing everything from their religious practises to their art and social structure. Using The Birth of Tragedy’s idiosyncratic, aesthetic philosophy, this exhibition text locates a nascent divinity in the works exhibited in A/D D/A. The Ancient Greeks understood tragic theatre as a ritualistic act of commune with their Gods, and Nietzsche understood there to be an ‘intrinsic dependence of every art on Greek’. Does it follow, then, that this idea of ritual could still - consciously or unconsciously - factor into current artistic practises?
The opposition and co-dependence of Apollo and Dionysus have inspired artists and thinkers throughout history. Apollo, the Sun-god, champions logic and rational interpretation, examining one’s mind and psyche before action, rather than performing based on impulses. Dionysus, the god of wine and theatre, hedonism and ecstasy, is linked with destruction and madness. The Apollonian, represented throughout history, is linked with creation, the sublime and the beautiful dream image; whereas the Dionysian, neglected in classical thinking, affirm both the horror and bliss of life, and becoming one with nature. This exhibition uses these ancient ideas and modern, critical thought to engage with the dialogue between these two ways of being and consider the synthesis and balance of these ideals in artistic practice today.
- Introduction of 'Apollo, Dionysus and The Return of Rituals' By Lydia Earthy
Daniel Spivakov (b. 1996) was born in Kiev, Ukraine. At 15 he moved to Oklahoma, USA, via a family-exchange programme. Without knowing the language, it was there that art became his main concern. The mixture of a post-soviet upbringing and a personal maturation in the Southern US has informed his artistic practice and wider perspective on contemporary culture. His work hinges on abstraction, expression and contemporary image culture. Spivakov graduated from Central Saint Martins. He now lives and works in Berlin.
Jack Laver (b. 1998) is a London-based multimedia artist. His practice is material-based. Utilising themes of the natural and the unnatural, organic substances, and mysticism, Laver examines a shifting dynamic between instinctual, organic forms and the interruption of the predetermined. Laver completed his Foundation in Art and Design at Kingston University in 2017, before going on to complete his undergraduate studies in Illustration and Visual Media at the London College of Communication in 2020. Laver has exhibited widely, including twice with Roman Road in 2020 and 2021. He lives and works in London.
Mia Vallance (b. 1998) is a London-based visual artist working predominantly in oil painting. Her work explores the materiality of paint, using raw pigments to create amorphous images that glow with colour. These sensory and entropic paintings operate best in the dream-like language of the subconscious. Vallance completed her Bachelor degree at Central Saint Martins in 2020, and is a current member of the Turps Off-Site Programme.
Jack Sommerville (b. 1998) was born in Haworth in West Yorkshire. His work ruminates on authenticity in contemporary painting. After finishing his Fine Art degree at Central Saint Martins, he moved to Le Dorat, France, to continue his work. He has exhibited widely across London and Berlin.
Bradley Childs (b. 1997) is an artist and maker born in Chelmsford, England working across painting, sculpture, and furniture. Using his experience working on building sites, Childs’ practice abstracts everyday materials to make us question our understanding of, use-value, function, and aesthetics. Childs graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2020, and has since exhibited across London and Berlin, including at The Koppel Project in 2020. He currently lives and works between London and Chelmsford.
Li Hei Di (b. 1997) is a London-based multidisciplinary artist. Her work deals with themes of home, identity, and desire. Using her experience of growing up across China and Europe, the balance between abstraction and figuration Hei Di employs reflects a desire to depict multiple facets of identity and accessibility in her practice through ambiguity and allusion. Hei Di studied at BA at both The Maryland Institute College of Art (2018) and Chelsea College of Arts (2020), and is currently studying at the RCA. She has exhibited widely, including most notably at Mammoth Gallery in London, Linseed Gallery in Shanghai, and currently at Gallery Vacancy in Shanghai.
Yage Guo (b. 1998) is an artist based in London and Shanghai. She works primarily in painting, drawing and print, exploring themes of transience, value, and mark-making. Guo completed her BFA in Fine Art at Slade, and is currently completing her MFA studies there. Guo has exhibited internationally, including at Linseed Gallery, Shanghai, Fusion, Nottingham D Contemporary, Mayfair, London, PMQ, Hong Kong, and IZO Gallery, Moscow.
Alexander Carey Morgan (b. 1998) is a London based multidisciplinary artist whose work uses the writings of Carl Jung to investigate the relationship between mankind and its body, and the conscious mind and the unconscious mind. His works consist mainly of natural raw material: fabric, plaster, pigment, and sand, to explore corporeality and the cultural unconsciousness. Morgan completed his BA Product design at Central Saint Martins.
Left: Bradley Childs 'Black Out 003' Right: Mia Vallance 'Cosmos'.
Left: Jack Laver ‘Dying days’ Right: Mia Vallance 'Ink, Body'
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue with essay ‘Apollo, Dionysus, and the Return of Ritual’ written by Art Historian, Lydia Earthy and designed by Cherryboy Magazine.
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