Wednesday, 9 June 2010

AA Bronson school for young Shamans

AA Bronson's latest exhibition at the John Connelly presents, New York(January 10 - February 16, 2008) goes back to his collaborative roots, and, as always, did not fail to intrigue its audience.

As the only remaining member of the "General Idea" collective, Bronson continues to work with the group's main theme of pain and healing in his solo career. The exhibition was partly the retrospective of Bronson's 40 years work as an artist, showing the transformation of himself through his work and perspective development. The pieces shown in this part of the gallery include ‘Mirror Sequence’ series (1969–70), Evidence of Body Binding (1970) and various portraits. The suggestion is that Bronson’s ‘self’ is an amalgamation of the circumstance and people that surround him.

He continues to illustrate this notion of self in references to others surround him in the second part of the exhibition, showing his various collaborations with the emerging 'young shamans'. Displayed in this part were the shamanistic works such as Christophe Chemin's film The Gold Room (showing artist's attempt to levitation), J.X. Williams' assorted objects for driving the evil spirits, Michael Dudeck performance, Item Idem's Louis Vuitton shaman dress, tribute to Joseph Beuys, and the notorious 'Glory Hole' collaboration with Terrence Koh.

This exhibition, overall, captures the essence of Bronson's work which, as discribed by the curator Bill Arnheim, ‘interweaving of tantalizing pleasures and profound trauma’. It also highlight the shamanistic element presenting in today's contemporary gay art practice.

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