Curated by N/V_PROJECTS
The new age compensates our consciousness in different ways. It compensates our secular, materialist society by nakedly displaying the powerful longings of the human spirit, even if this compensation is unsuccessful, I.e unacceptable to mainstream secular attitudes. It also compensates our established religious traditions by forcing us to attend to what has been repressed or ignored by Western religion: The sacred feminine, the Earth Mother, the Goddess, the Body, nature, instincts, ecstasy and mysticism.
– Jung and the New Age – David John Tacey
The second half of the last century has seen a renewed interest by western cultures in eastern spiritual practices, as well as alternative forms of medicine. The spiritual depth these cultures hold within their historically evolved practices have since been dissected and streamlined to match a Western lifestyle, transformed from ends to means, presenting an attractive option to those with limited time and patience, and for those with a different agenda to begin with. Particularly from the 1990´s onwards, and often gathered under the umbrella of `Wellness´ and `New Age´, we have seen a number of hybrid strands spreading though the West as variations of ancient techniques, such as Yoga, which have been converted into formats such as expedited routes to enlightenment and Zen business models. In the simplest of forms, businesses can be seen appropriating elements (words, fonts, colours, etc.) to reference the betterment of the consumer, by appearing to be associated to a healthier, more desirable, conscious way of living.
The literature supplementing these practices occupies a surprisingly large portion of storage racks in Amazon´s ‘Fulfilment Centres’. The following titles specifically illustrate the wide selection of accessibility: The Seven Laws to Spiritual Success´, `The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment´ or `The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself’ and at the end of the spectrum, ‘Reiki for dummies’..
In the contemporary religious consumer market, the commodification of spirituality and it’s appropriation – especially from other traditions not one’s own – foment an increasingly contentious issue. The questions, which arise, relate to ownership: Is spirituality a private possession or does it belong today more in the public domain – making it something freely accessible to whomsoever chooses?
– New age commodification – Michael York
Although they might be stripped down and/or modified in relation to the original sources, these strands are essentially positive and offer access to whichever concept of the `sacred´ a devotee may choose to pursue. This variety of possibility creates an arena of interest that might not otherwise appear accessible. While viewed from the outside, an element of irony is potentially present in many of these practices, however, in essence, what they hope to offer is the possibility of bettering oneself, and to enable potentially life changing rituals and experiences.
The exhibition `Fulfilment Centre’ brings together a survey of works that from a variety of perspectives can be seen to work with the aforementioned text. Within these references new iconography and motifs emerge, suggesting the possibility of worship or to contemplate further and differently to the way in which art asks us to engage.
There is a fine line between cynicism and sincerity, or scepticism and optimism, when observing these tendencies – the selection of works on display has been conceived to negotiate this awkward zone of uncertainty.
As a part of the exhibition, a trained professional will offer a limited amount of hourly Acupuncture treatments on the two Sundays following the show opening at the gallery.
To book an appointment, please email: [email protected] * All treatments are free, however donations are welcome *