Prepare to be shocked, to be disgusted, to be perplexed and to be amazed. The exhibition Modern Panic IV will undoubtedly evoke a million different feelings amongst its visitors. It showcases a wide range of paintings, sculptures, performances and films that all have one thing in common; they all demonstrate the theme of panic, guaranteeing that Modern Panic IV is much more than just an exhibition; it is an experience. ROUGH UK sat down with the curator, James Elphick, in an attempt to get into his head and gain a better understanding of this highly unusual and yet spectacular exhibition.
ROUGH: Please tell us about the concept of the exhibition Modern Panic, and about what you wish to communicate through it.
JAMES: Modern Panic is inspired by the 1960s Parisian Panic Movement. A group who concentrated on chaotic happenings containing performance art and surreal imagery, designed to be shocking, as a response to surrealism becoming petite bourgeoisie and to release destructive energies in search of peace and beauty. Modern Panic is about a new wave of provocative, controversial and surreal modern artists, whose work has something to say and can resonate with the viewers.
ROUGH: You are featuring several artists, many of which are very different. Based on which criteria did you choose the artists?
JAMES: Alongside inviting a selection of artists once a year I run an open call for international artists to participate in the exhibition. This year we will feature 40 visual artists, 10 filmmakers and 20 live arts practitioners. The work usually speaks for itself and stands out, this year we had an overwhelming response and the standard was very high. It was very difficult to select the finalists!
ROUGH: What is it that fascinates you personally about the panic movement?
JAMES: In 2009 I curated a multi event season about Alejandro Jodorowsky who was one of the founders of the Panic Movement. He went on to create some of the greatest cult films which took the energy and vision of the performance art and surreal imagery and combined it with alchemical, esoteric and philosophical elements to create a type of film that wanted to heal its audience. I find the concept of art that can heal fascinating and I try to explore this in the work we exhibit. Beneath all the provocative, controversial, political, social and morally questionable work lies a question to the viewer, to see what they find acceptable in themselves, hold the mirror up and to them ask why.
ROUGH: What should the visitors expect from this exhibition?
JAMES: Art to hate, art to love, art to shake you awake and art to take with you forever!
Visiting Modern Panic IV is an experience that you shouldn’t deny yourself. The exhibition runs till Sunday 17th November in Apiary Studios in Hackney, London. For more information, visit www.guerrillazoo.com/modern-panic-4.