A personal note of thanks from Robert Ansell
The last few weeks have been some of the busiest we’ve ever seen here at Fulgur Esoterica, and with good reason. More than nine months in the planning, our first exhibition of esoteric artists – titled I:MAGE – had no less than five major objectives…
We were keen that our first exhibition should reflect the high standards of presentation for art for which we have become known in the publishing arena. We were also keen to demonstrate the great diversity of talent now working in the esoteric genre. This event would also serve as a platform to launch a new class of product, our FULGUR ARTIST EDITIONS. Ranging from C-Types to silk-screen prints, silver gelatin photographs to LED light boxes, and from offset lithographs to wood-engravings, we wanted to demonstrate that occult art need not be limited to a single ‘antiqued’ style. Indeed, occult art could be contemporary and still potent. We also wanted to put forward an idea; that throughout the last century, artists working in the esoteric genre have not been clearly recognised as such. And that today, there are more than ever. Enough perhaps for critics to recognise this as a category of art that has been previously overlooked. And finally, we hoped that I:MAGE could provide the perfect venue to launch – jointly with Treadwell’s Bookshop – our first Special Issue of Abraxas; an innovative collaboration with Cambridge University titled Charming Intentions.
Over the course of six days we saw more than 500 people visit the exhibition, with over 120 people on the last day alone. We received interest from long-standing FULGUR subscribers, from many Treadwell’s customers, from journalists, critics (to our delight, Edward Lucie Smith appeared early on) and from many London art dealers, who came incognito and furtively noted artists they wanted on their own walls. They were clearly too nervous to realise everything was detailed in the glossy 74 page catalogue we also produced for the event, but we took their interest as a great compliment and a sign our first show had created ripples.
To the great success of this event, we owe our thanks to many who have supported our vision. First, to the participating artists, who have produced some truly spectacular material for our first gallery venture. Among these, special thanks go to Jesse Bransford and Francesco and Agnese Parisi, who stayed very late on Saturday night to help us set-up the show against a punishing deadline. Their generous support throughout the days that followed was also warmly welcomed. To Christina Oakley Harrington and the team at Treadwell’s – our neighbours for the week – we owe a debt of gratitude. Not only did Christina offer the facilities at Treadwell’s for a series of evening events to coincide with I:MAGE, but her continual support and friendship thoughout the week was (as ever) invaluable. And finally, Rosalind and I would like to express our thanks to Livia Filotico who has worked extremely hard as press officer, client liaison, translator and curatorial assistant – to name but a few of her many roles. When one visitor entered the gallery nervously and asked “Is this exhibition part of the I:MAGE Festival?” we knew that word was out. A big thank you Livia!
Now the dust has settled, we are busy dispatching the orders recently received. For those who couldn’t get to London, we have just a few copies of the catalogue left (including some signed by the artists) and these are available in our online Bookshop. And of course, with so much encouragement, we are already thinking about I:MAGE 2.
SOME REVIEWS AND PRESS NOTICES
“Yesterday went to see I:MAGE art exhibition. On the event website you can read that “I:MAGE promises to be a landmark exhibition for a new, emerging category of art” and it truly is.” Krzysztof Azarewicz
“Painters, photographers, artists and performers participating in the group show believe that art based on the esoteric and on the transmission of knowledge among initiates is becoming more important. The exhibition, held in the gallery-bookstore Fulgur Esoterica of London until May 25, is surrounded by special events that aim to reinforce the idea that we are seeing the consolidation of a movement, or at least one artistic sub-genre. www.20minutos.es
“In I:MAGE the occult factor is obviously brought to the foreground, with the intent to emphasize esoteric art as a category in its own right – in fact, as the key category from which the many and diverse visual outcomes can be appreciated. As Robert Ansell, curator of this exhibition and co-director of Abraxas journal for esoteric studies says: “Contemporary esoteric art has too often been subsumed into other categories. It has been considered post-symbolist art, art brut, surrealist art, outsider art, magic realism, neo-romanticism, or visionary art – to name a few. But while these categories are useful, they do not seem adequate to express the broad scope and inner complexities of this esoteric imagery.” Francesca Ricci – ArtLyst.com