Charlie Woolley – Mysterious Cults

3 Sep – 16 Oct 2010
Free & open to all
SPACE Mare Street

An exhibition of photo and poster collage, textiles and installation work accompanied by the artist’s ongoing Radio Show project and a cycle of broadcasted events.

The singularity of Charlie Woolley’s work comes in the form of its insistence on dialogue and communication.

His work is never a statement. It is always a conversation.

And while this notion is most clear in his RADIO SHOW project – a fully operational radio show broadcasting live from a soundproof booth within the Gallery at SPACE for the entire duration of Mysterious Cults – hints and tones of Woolley’s adherence to the dialogue can be located throughout his practice.

Inspired by the phenomenon of architectural palimpsests (an oft-occurring phenomenon where the presence of a no longer existent building leaves a ghostly trace or mark on the surface of a newer structure), a new large-scale photo-collage dominates the far wall of the Gallery. Two images are set in conversation, the ground of this dialogue being the perpetual tension between two dialectical opposites (between war and peace, as represented by the proud silhouette of a soldier and the counter-image of a late 60s anti-Vietnam demonstration).

Two large flags hang from the centre beams of the gallery. Sealing off a square area containing seating and plant beds, the flags are the latest in an ongoing cycle that already includes Flags For Dead Revolutionaries (2009) and as a loose development of this theme, Four White Flags for the Women of the Weather Underground (2009). The flags Woolley has produced for Mysterious Cults, signal to French novelist, playwright, poet and activist and convict Jean Genet, as well as to Philip Guston (in the form of a Russian quote lifted from his biography – a rough translation of which would be ‘bear your soul’).

Two poster collages, like the Palimpsest works, operate via the juxtaposition of dual images. Culled from recent trawls through the thrift and dollar stores of San Francisco, these posters depict an eclectic range of subjects. Cut up and combined, the effect is that of a consciously awkward gesticulation; something is said by the new combination, yet it is indecipherable and unstable – remaining fundamentally against interpretation. In addition to these works, a full event programme will compliment Mysterious Cults. Conjoined to the RADIO SHOW booth will be a stage upon which a series of late night event evenings will take place. This programme begins on Thursday 9th of September with a night of live music organized by I Hate The Kids and will recur each successive Thursday.

In addition, Saturdays will feature presentations by a selection of independent artist run organisations based in London, each of whom has been invited to take over the stage and radio show to mount a day-long event. Participants include Inheritance Projects, FormContent, Auto-Italia South East, Supplement, Five Storey Projects and The Enlightenment Gallery. RADIO SHOW will be broadcasting live 5 days a week (Tuesday – Saturday) from SPACE. Transmission commences on Thursday Sep 2nd at 7pm. 

This will be Charlie Woolley’s second solo exhibition following I Built My House on Sand (2008) at David Risley Gallery, London and his first in a UK public institution. Woolley is represented by David Risley Gallery, Copenhagen

Mysterious Cults is the fourth NEU! exhibition at SPACE. Previous exhibitions include: AMAXAMA by Ben Sansbury (May 2010), colourless green ideas sleep furiously by Adam Thomas (March 2010), What I Believe (a Polemical Collection) by Ruth Beale (November 2009) and PROH-SOH’ PA-PEER by Richard John Jones (September 2009). NEU! is an ongoing cycle of solo exhibitions by emerging artists at SPACE.