The latest and largest Burroughs exhibition of the Centenary year has opened in vibrant East London. Produced by Guerrilla Zoo with the cooperation of the Burroughs Estate, William S Burroughs: Animals in the Wall opened on 29 August to reveal over 50 original artworks by Burroughs accompanied by dozens of contemporary works by artists inspired by Mr B. A steady stream of fascinated fans and curious onlookers are soaking up the show before it 'melts into air' and leaves London on Sunday night.
The show's title refers to Burroughs' childhood fever visions of giraffes and other animals crawling across the wallpaper of his bedroom. These hallucinations were an early indicator to Burroughs that there are creatures and scenes existing just beyond our consensus reality. From shotgun paintings to pornographic collage, the curators have selected many powerful and provocative works which have been largely unseen until now. These pieces, such as 'Portrait of Aleister Crowley', 'The Golden Scream', 'LA Riots', and 'Burning Bullets' resonate nicely with the subversive and colourful graffiti which adorns this part of town. Several pieces reveal Burroughs' political bent as seen in untitled works which were created as curses against Reagan and George H.W. Bush, whose policies he despised. Most of the works were created, though, to serve as portals into the 'magical universe'. This transportation was accomplished by using unorthodox artistic tools and mediums to create abstract fields specially tailored to invite the involvement of the viewers' imagination. Burroughs himself would spend much time with his finished paintings -often viewing them with magnification or in altered states- and discovering characters and scenes which appeared later in his written works. He used his paintings as portals for the imagination and today's viewers can do the same.
The public has responded well to this opportunity, coming in great numbers and spending hours in the immersive and multi-faceted show. Well known Burroughs fans such as Michael Stipe have visited and enjoyed the show and important contemporary artists like Matt Black (of Coldcut) and Shepherd Fairey have created works for the occasion; to celebrate Burroughs' powerful insights and influence which seem as relevent as ever in this, his Centenary, year.
Following in his legacy of boundless experimentation and collaboration, the curators James Elphick and Yuri Zupancic have chosen to include an array of new multi-media installations including a spectral, speaking effigy of Burroughs seated at a desk with his video-projected face reading from the Red Night Trilogy 'and other unassigned bits and pieces'. In the last room of the exhibition, Ben Frost, Mobstr, Gaston Ugalde, Paul Dunn Smith, Cleon Peterson, and other exciting artists of today have provided works which bear Burroughs' influence. Fleshing it out further is an exclusive video work created by Aaron Brookner showing never-before-seen archival footage of Mr B strolling around London cut-in with glimpses of his 1980s performances and more.
The show also includes works of Brion Gysin, arguably Burroughs' greatest collaborator and influence, which reveal Gysin's artistic visions of Marrakech as well as the Beat Hotel, where he created one of the featured works whilst under the influence of psilosybin mushrooms provided by Timothy Leary. A beat 'survivor' and close collaborator of Gysin and Burroughs, Terry Wilson continues to make cut-up collages and intimate works which show his deep understanding of the cut-up technique and reveal perspectives found under the influence of ayahuasca. Six of these works are on display and Wilson himself will appear on Thursday, 4 Sept to read exerpts of his literary work at 8pm.
This show closes in less than a week, so get there soon if you want to see/hear/experience this spectacle! Don't fret if you can't get to London in time, as the curators hope to tour the show to a gallery near you and meanwhile have created three limited-edition lithographs of Burroughs' paintings which are available here at Burroughs100.com.
Links to Press Coverage
Exhibition Photo Gallery
Promo Video Featuring New Interview with James Grauerholz
The exhibition: http://www.guerrillazoo.com/william-s-burroughs.html
All images of Burroughs' art Copyright 2014 Estate of William S Burroughs. Reproduction requests contact email@example.com
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