The age-old connection between art and the occult lies at the dark heart of Wellington City Gallery's new show, Occulture: The Dark Arts, opening this Saturday 12 August.
Spells will be cast, thresholds crossed and astro charts consulted.
The term 'occulture' was coined by British academic Christopher Partridge to describe a contemporary normalising of the occult. "History has been littered with attempts to shun or ban 'hidden knowledge', however it never quite goes away. Certain periods have been open to these alternative possibilities, and we live in one such moment," says Curator Aaron Lister. "This exhibition looks at contemporary art's role in this resurgence of the occult."
The exhibition brings together 60 works by artists both contemporary and historic, local and international. The multimedia works will push the symbolic, formal and material languages of occult traditions into new forms. This focus on the normalising of the occult into contemporary life means that the exhibition features many contemporary artists such as Mikala Dwyer, Dane Mitchell and Yin-Ju Chen. Earlier artists and work sit alongside these, by Aleister Crowley, Leo Bensemann, and Rosaleen Norton. This will be the first time Crowley and Norton's work has been exhibited in New Zealand.
Keep an eye out for the Gallery's accompanying series of public programs, which will feature practitioners of occulture from music, performance and film.