Joachim_Koester, film still, 2009, Borbala Soos

Ritual without Myth

with Danai Anesiadou, Asco, Erick Beltrán, Lygia Clark, Patrizio Di Massimo, Joachim Koester, Ioana Nemes, Ocaña, Amalia Pica, Yeguas del Apocalipsis, Royal College of Art, 8 until 25 March 2012, Henry Moore Gallery, London, UK

– the MA Curating Contemporary Art course's degree show was curated by Daniela Berger, Laura Clarke, Lily Hall, Mette Kjaergaaed Preast, Egle Kulbokaite, Sabel Gavaldon, Katie Guggenhiem, Laura Smith, Borbála Soós, Elizabeth Stanton.

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Events

Opening Night
Thursday 8 March 2012, 7 to 9pm

Artists and invited curators in conversation:
Amalia Pica and Julieta González, Patrizio Di Massimo and Anders Kreuger,
moderated by Pablo León de la Barra
Saturday 10 March 2012, 2 to 4pm

An evening of screenings of work by Danai Anesiadou and Sophie Nys, Patrizio Di Massimo and Amalia Pica,
culminating in a performative lecture by Erick Beltrán with musician Greg Gilg
Wednesday 14 March 2012, 7 to 9:30pm

Ritual Tour with artist Jeremy Millar and CCA curators
Saturday 24 March 2012, 2 to 4pm

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This exhibition brings together practices that revisit the idea of RITUAL as a catalyst for transformative experience; a notion explored in the work of Lygia Clark (‘I manipulate the rite without the myth’). Her work, which existed only through the agency and subjective experience of an audience, acts as a point of departure from which to re-examine the function of ritual today. By exploring ritual as medium, Clark shifts the focus from the field of the spiritual to patterns of social interaction, creating potential for the production of alternative forms of subjectivity.

This exhibition brings together practices that interrogate MYTH as a set of beliefs that sustain our social structures. In the works presented, different bodies of culture are devoured and devour in turn; a strategy that can be related to the concept of antropofagia (the cannibalisation of culture, as first defined within Brazilian avant-gardes). Rather than incorporating the other, this process involves a transformation, a becoming. Devouring mythologies allows the possibility of re signifying them, in order to decentre the colonial, social and sexual norms that constitute modernity.

The paradox of a ‘ritual without myth’ is expanded through a series of contradictions within this exhibition. The participating artists assemble elements from specific cultural contexts, reflecting on the dynamics of geographical dislocation and other displacements and transactions in which the centre and the margins interpenetrate, compete with and imitate each other. Instead of embodying difference, these practices open up conflicts in which identity emerges as contested ground.

The exhibition can be read as a ritual in which each work indicates a stage in a process of continuous transformation, unfolding in a circular movement, where the beginning and the end are interchangeable, and points of intersection dislocate one another. The artists map out alternative cartographies of the present, and suggest tactics to be enacted in the future.

As the result of ongoing discussions amongst a group of ten curators, the exhibition cannot (and need not) propose one unitary narrative. Instead, we hope to make visible some of the complex interrelationships between the centre and the margins, where the latter are not absorbed into any single dominant cultural logic, but become transformative.