Panic Exhibition Review by Spoonfed
The Panic Exhibition at The Old Abattoir
19 November, 2009
Guerilla Zoo are no strangers to orchestrating bizarre events, so it comes as no surprise that their latest endeavour, The Panic Exhibition, is set in The Old Abattoir in Clerkenwell. In this vast derelict space, that was previously a prison before its incarnation as an abattoir, 40 artists are exhibiting works across a broad range of media.
The term 'panic' is used here in reference to the original Panic Movement (Mouvement Panique), a collective of artists (Fernando Arrabal, Alejandro Jodorowsky and Roland Topor) that formed in Paris in 1962. Their works focused on shocking performance art and imagery as a response to 'surrealism becoming petite bourgeoisie and to release destructive energies in search of peace and beauty.'
The name comes from the Greek God Pan - best known for his association with sexuality and prowess. During the 11 years that the Panic Movement was in action there were a number of outrageous performances, many highly charged with sexuality, brutality, and utterly unrepeatable, before they dissolved in 1973 with the release of Fernando Arrabal's 'Panic Manifesto'.
To say that this is a 'normal' exhibition by any means would be an understatement. Whilst the setting alone sets it apart from your standard gallery experience, it's the somewhat macabre, unusual mixture of contemporary art that is entirely powerful, if not at times slightly baffling. The exhibition opening night started with a 3 hour 'panic' where a collection of exhibiting artists created the work that will stand for the entirety of the exhibition. The dynamic and spontaneous style of the exhibition means that you could walk in on a music video, a photo shoot or a live installation...
The mediums explored here range far and wide and equally complimented with a variety of size. Heading down the stairs of the expansive building leads you to Rookinella's den of felt utopia. On first glance you may think that you're gazing at war memorabilia - yet these creations of AK-47s, grenades and torpedo missiles are indeed craftily created from felt.
Felt creations by Rookinella
In the main rooms there are works from various artists spanning from paintings and photography to giant, sometimes grotesque sculptures.
Clothing and fashion designs such as couture corsetry by Freyagushi come in the form of disturbing yet cutesy mannequins decked out in pig paraphenalia. In the far corner of the downstairs room, if you dare, are a long series of tunnels that envelop you in darkness with random coves dimly lit by candles displaying photographic works. Across the room there are a selection of live painting sessions happening - an artist painting works from start to finish, whilst artist and performance collective Twisted Cirque are indulging in a gory live painting session that mixes painting both canvas and human alike.
Performance & painting by Twisted Cirque
The highlight of the opening night is a performance piece from Lee Adams who, dressed as a giant rabbit begins to smear his face in blood before stabbing himself violently in the stomach and pouring his feathered entrails all over his face. It's all very strange but captivating all the same. With the work of 40 artists spread over two floors, the only reason to panic will be if you miss it.
The Panic Exhibition is open until Saturday 21st November, 11am - 7pm, so be quick! The Old Abattoir, 187 - 211 St John Street, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 4LS. Entry by donation.
Original Article from Spoonfed : http://www.spoonfed.co.uk/spooners/danielregan-5534/the-panic-exhibition-at-the-old-abattoir-1756/