Even with gloves, collecting a tangled specimen of thorny vines into a box is a precarious situation. Like a frenzied cat, the thorns spur out in all directions, their firm stems snap, rebound, and unfurl. Attempting to curl them into more manageable forms is natural. And perilous. Consider yourself enchanted if you get through the entire endeavor without scratches or punctures. And once you think you’ve bound them? They pierce through the sides of the box. Refusing to be contained.
An exhibition of Black Metal artworks is a thorny occasion. Summoned by Amelia Ishmael, “Black Thorns in the White Cube” is a traveling exhibition presenting a selection of photography, prints, drawings, and artist books by eight contemporary artists who are influenced by the heavy, dark, and mystic obscurity of Black Metal music. Based in the United States and Europe participating artists include Alexander Binder (Stuttgart, Germany), Vincent Como (Brooklyn), Terence Hannum (Baltimore), Karlynn Holland (Brooklyn), Elodie Lesourd (Paris, France), Aaron Metté (Brooklyn), Christophe Szpajdel (Exeter, U.K.), Grant Willing (Brooklyn), and Tereza Zelenkova (London, England). Engaging with the symbols, history, and myths of the Black Metal music subculture, their images explore haunted Germanic forests, descents into the void, visual translations of sonic experiences, ontologies of Black Metal band logos, and barren western landscapes. Together their artwork contributes to the discourse currently occurring in Black Metal theory, examines the innovations and significance of contemporary Black Metal visual art, and offers an account of its critical disruptions.
Thick gloves are not required attire to view this exhibition, but we cannot hold ourselves accountable for any cerebral wounds inflicted during your experience.
Amelia Ishmael is an artist whose practice includes critiquing, historicising, teaching, and curating other artists' practices. She has shared her gleanings on Black Metal and Contemporary Art at conferences internationally, including the Black Metal Theory Symposium in London and the Home of Metal Conference in Wolverhampton, U.K. Her writings have also appeared in ArtSlant, Art Papers, and Review. She received a BFA in Photography and New Media from the Kansas City Art Institute and a MA in Modern Art History, Theory, and Criticism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and was an Urban Culture Project studio resident.
Alexander Binder is a self-taught photographer based in Stuttgart, Germany. Born on Halloween night in the Black Forest/Germany Binder’s lenses are mostly built from optical toys, old soviet cameras, prisms or plastic crap. His photographs have been exhibited at Viktor Wynd Fine Art (London), Sugar (New York), and Feinkunst Krüger (Hamburg). Binder’s images have also featured on album covers for Stephen O’Malley, Ural Umbo, and Black Mountain Transmitter.
Vincent Como is an artist and curator based in Brooklyn, NY. He received his BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art. He has exhibited at Proof Gallery (Boston), Western Exhibitions (Chicago), and VONZWECK (Chicago). Como has given presentations at the Black Metal Theory Symposium, the Contemporary Artists Books Conference, and the Bruce High Quality Foundation. In addition, he is co-founder of Horse Trader Gallery in Brooklyn.
Terence Hannum is an artist and musician based in Baltimore, MD. He earned his BFA from Florida Southern College and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Has had solo exhibitions at Western Exhibitions, the Chicago Cultural Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and group exhibitions at Locatie Z, The Hague (Netherlands), telephonebooth (Kansas City), and San Francisco Cinamatheque. Hannum has performed music solo, with Locrian and Unlucky Atlas, and in collaboration with Nicolas Lobo at De La Cruz Collection in Miami and Scott Treleaven at Kavi Gupta Gallery in Chicago.
Karlynn Holland is an artist and curator based in Brooklyn. She earned her BA from University of Chicago and a Certificate in Forensic Sculpture from the New York Academy of Art. She has exhibited at the Smart Museum of Art (Chicago) and the New Art Center (Boston). Holland has designed logos for Dysrhythmia, Astomatous, and Krallice, and has collaborated with Kai Althoff and Brandon Stosuy in the exhibition “Mirror Me” at Dispatch Gallery, NY. Her ongoing curatorial project “Dreams Were Made for Mortals” is presented by St. Vitus, NYC.
Elodie Lesourd is an artist and musician based in Paris, France. She completed her Post Graduate studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Nantes and earned her DNSEP from the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Lyon. Lesourd has exhibited at Olivier Robert Gallery (Paris), Minus Space (New York City), and Center for Contemporary Art (Lausanne, Switzerland). She has performed at her exhibitions at Les Eglises Contemporary Art Center (Chelles), MAC/VAL (Vitry-sur-Seine), and Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art (Paris). In addition, Lesourd was a guest editor to the May 2011 issue of C.S. Journal.
Aaron Metté is an artist and musician based in Brooklyn. He received a BFA from University of Louisville and a MFA from the University of Pennsylvania. He has exhibited at Michael Steinberg Fine Arts (New York) and Crane Arts Center (Philadelphia), and collaborated with Terry Adkins in the performance “Invocation to Bessie Smith” at P.S.1 MoMA Center for Contemporary Art. Metté also leads experimental sound classes and workshops at 3rd Ward.
Christophe Szpajdel is an artist based in Exeter, U.K. Specializing in Black and Death Metal design, his work includes logos for the bands Emperor, Moonspell, Wolves in the Throne Room, Nachtmystium, and Enthroned, and for the 2008 documentary “Until the Light Takes Us.” Szpajdel’s work has been published in the 2008 compendium “Logos from Hell” and his 2010 monograph “Lord of the Logos.” He has exhibited at the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis) and Studio Krimm (Berlin).
Grant Willing is a photographer based in Brooklyn. He earned his BFA from Parson’s New School for Design. His works has been exhibited at Interurban Gallery (Vancouver), Foam Fotografiemuseum (Amsterdam), and Corridor Gallery (Brooklyn). His artist books have featured at the NY Art Book Fair at PS1 MoMA, Indie Photobook Library at in Washington DC and Toronto, and Self Publish, Be Happy at the Photographer’s Gallery in London.
Tereza Zelenkova is a photographer based in London. She earned her BA from University of Westminster and is currently a MA candidate at the Royal College of Art. Her work has been exhibited by Jerwood Art Space (London), HotShoe Gallery(London), and the Chelsea Museum of Art (NY). Zelenkova’s photography series Supreme Vice was published by Morel Books.