By Mia L

As I made my way to the outskirts of town on an overcast autumnal night, the scene was well and truly set for an exhibition dedicated to one of history’s most controversial figures. Crowley Calling featured works by five artists, each of whom had been inspired by the notorious artist, writer and mystic: Aleister Crowley. The relatively austere confines of the Electro Studios Project Space provided the ideal backdrop for a show which was both immersive and insightful.

I found myself immediately drawn to Kate Harrison’s elegantly macabre diorama: ‘Mr Crowley Snarled’. Harrison’s work is characterised by a desire to reuse ‘Old, broken and otherwise dead flora and fauna’.

Miniature diorama ‘Mr Crowley Snarled’ by Kate Harrison; Photo taken by Alexander Brattell

Kristian Baughurst’s ‘Resting Place’ considered Crowley’s fascination with numbers and magickal symbolism. By using a poster-style format, complete with a skeletal motif and lurid neon tones, Baughurst’s work was both defiant and mesmerising. The ominous atmosphere of the show was further enhanced by Martin Tanton’s foreboding aural soundscape. His darkly ethereal refrains played parallel to the transcendental tone of the work on display.

Neon Poster ‘Resting Place’ by Kristian Baughurst; Photo taken by Alexander Brattell

Aleister Crowley was born in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, in 1875. From an early age he rejected his family’s devout religious views, and swiftly gained notoriety for his avant garde lifestyle. Crowley spent his final days in Hastings, before passing away in 1947, in a local boarding house. He is perhaps best known for founding the religion ‘Thelema’ and its associated text ‘The Book of Law’. Crowley’s impact on counterculture has been immense and he remains an icon of philosophy and rebellion, to this day.

‘Crowley Calling’ was an evocative celebration of the esoteric marred by an overarching sense of seductive unrest…surely, a fitting tribute to ‘The Wickedest Man in the World’!

‘Crowley Calling’ was curated by BERC (Black Eyes Rosy Cheeks) and ran from 27th September – 29th September 2019. Please refer to the Electro Studios Project Space website, for information on future events: www.electrostudiosprojectspace.co.uk

Crowley Calling’ was part of the annual Coastal Currents arts programme. Coastal Currents ran from 31st August-30th September 2019. Please refer to the event website for more details: www.coastalcurrents.org.uk


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