The Gates of Apophenia, Bosse & Baum Gallery, London Nov 2019- Jan 2020

Photos Damian Griffiths

Text/exhibition info


The Gates of Apophenia is a threshold between two states of mind. It is subscribing to scientific logic and an evidence-based understanding of the world whilst simultaneously employing esoteric behaviour in an attempt to influence matters outside of my control. Apophenia is a term used to describe seeing connections and meaning between unrelating things.

The exhibition stems from a research residency at the Warburg Institute London exploring the cultural heritage of tarot (playing cards used for divination), the mutation of symbols and the art historian Aby Warburg’s legacy. The project has developed through a performance at Serpentine Gallery (2018) a card deck published by Common-Editions (2018) and a solo exhibition at Void Gallery, Derry Northern Ireland (2019). Throughout these projects, I have interpreted my research through performance, photography, sculpture and animation: the translation between each medium, the various shifts in media, scale, time and place, has informed the development of the project.

The Gates of Apophenia is an installation surrounding the viewer with miniature sculptural Major Arcana (trump cards). Each card is explored through varying arrangements of repeated sculptural forms creating compositions such as empty castles, temple-like structures, boats and lighthouses, accompanied by animal heads and frozen magician’s gloves as well as fairytale paraphernalia and familiar or mysterious symbols. The sculptures are made from a range of materials, including ceramic, Jesmonite, cardboard, textiles and resin with roughly shaped surfaces in saturated pigments of pinks, purples, yellows and greens and ghostly whites. The work here is stripped of the tarots original universal human imagery to draw attention to how object and architecture alone might convey spiritual meaning or imply narrative and plays with the interpretation of symbols. Instigated by philosophical questions about humankind’s disharmony with the universe, these works are choreographed to focus on the potential of esoteric modes of thinking to transform perception.