jmtd → log → The Horror Show!
I was passing through London on Friday and I had time to get to The Horror Show! Exhibit at Somerset House, over by Victoria embankment. I learned about the exhibition from Gazelle Twin’s website: she wrote music for the final part of the exhibit, with Maxine Peake delivering a monologue over the top.
I loved it. It was almost like David Keenan’s book England’s Hidden Reverse had been made into an exhibition. It’s divided into three themes: Monster, Ghost and Witch, although the themes are loose with lots of cross over and threads running throughout.
The show is littered with artefacts from culturally significant works from a recently-bygone age. There’s a strong theme of hauntology. The artefacts that stuck out to me include some of Leigh Bowery’s costumes; the spitting image doll of Thatcher; the cover of a Radio Times featuring the cult BBC drama Threads; Nigel Kneale’s “the stone tape” VHS alongside more recent artefacts from Inside Number 9 and a MR James adaptation by Mark Gatiss (a clear thread of inspiration there); various bits relating to Derek Jarman including the complete “Blue” screening in a separate room; Mica Levi’s eerie score to “under the skin” playing in the “Witch” section, and various artefacts and references to the underground music group Coil. Too much to mention!
Having said that, the things which left the most lasting impression are the some of the stand-alone works of art: the charity box boy model staring fractured and refracted through a glass door (above); the glossy drip of blood running down a wall; the performance piece on a Betamax tape; the self portrait of a drowned man; the final piece, "The Neon Heiroglyph".
Jonathan Jones at the Guardian liked it.
The show runs until the 19th February and is worth a visit if you can.