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EXHIBITIONS

“Reflections from Damaged Life” at Raven Row, London

To many artists in the sixties who referred to the counterculture, or who used hallucinogenic drugs as an artistic tool, the term ‘psychedelic’ was seen as compromised and the idea of a ‘psychedelic art’ resisted. It is for this reason that ‘psychedelic art’ cannot be easily categorised as a genre; neither can it be understood as an entirely overlooked art form.
This exhibition sets out to question what ‘psychedelic art’ might be, and reassess the artistic problems it poses. Rather than through the framework of counterculture and the hippie scene, it focuses on how specific artistic practices inflected the drug culture and its concepts of transformation and non-human perception. It seeks to redefine the psychedelic in terms of an art that deals with events and effects: events in social space as well as in the nervous system, and effects that spread as a kind of unconditional exchange between free subjects in a new sensorial community. The exhibition explores the experimental spirit, conceptual fluidity and formal obscenity of the psychedelic, and aims to expose the viewer to the experience of ‘otherness’ through artworks that deal with the non-sentimental sensitivity of the hallucinogenic drug experience.
Since the very idea of a ‘psychedelic art’ is tenuous, the exhibition does not propose a canonical presentation, but attempts to establish a series of artist experiments that relate to the many ‘plateaux’ of the psychedelic, and its multiple histories as they unfolded in particular cultural contexts in Europe, Scandinavia, Latin America and Japan. Although the focus will be upon historical projects from the sixties and seventies, the exhibition will include work from the fifties until the present day.
Artists in the exhibition:  Jordan Belson, Jes Brinch, The Cockettes, Dexter Sinister, Öyvind Fahlström, Henriette Heise, Robert Horvitz, Pierre Huyghe, Sture Johannesson, Learning Site, Magma, David Medalla and The Exploding Galaxy, Marta Minujín, The Otolith Group, Pramod Pati, Sigmar Polke, Willoughby Sharp and Tadanori Yokoo.
The exhibition is curated by Lars Bang Larsen.
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at Raven Row, London
until 12 December 2013
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Above and below – Pierre Huyghe, L’Expédition Scintillante, Act 2 (light show), 2002
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Still from World by Jordan Belson, 1970
Still from Chakra by Jordan Belson, 1972

Henriette Heise, Darkness Machine, 2010
Marta Minujìn in front of her work Importaciòn/Exportaciòn at the instituto Torcuato di Tella, Buenos Aires, 1968
Robert Horvitz Page from my Diary: 22 September–4 October 1972, 1972

Öyvind Falström, Notes for ‘The Little General’ A, 1968
Sigmar Polke, Untitled (Head), 1966–68
David Medalla, Raven mask for ‘The Bird Ballet’ performed at the Roundhouse, Camden, October 1967 by The Exploding Galaxy
Robert Horvitz, Personal Domain of Freedom and Ecstasy 1, 1973
Learning Site (Rikke Luther with Jaime Stapleton), House of Welfare, 2013
Öyvind Fahlström, The Little General (Pinball Machine), 1967–68
Courtesy: the artists; Center for Visual Music, Los Angeles; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark / Donation: The Joseph and Celia Ascher Collection, New York.
Photo: Marcus J. Leith.

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