Edel Assanti and Bright Treasure Art Projects are pleased to present The Alchemists, a group show of new work from five international artists. This interdisciplinary exhibition offers an exploration of the meaning of alchemy in relation to visual art. With their culturally disparate perspectives and differing technical approaches, the artists challenge the definitions of this theme through sculpture, painting and installation.
Historically, alchemy was concerned with the manipulation of elemental matter to produce gold from base metals. Contemporary concepts of alchemy are now inextricably linked with notions of the instability of value, both in the physical world around us and in society’s definitions of objective worth. This exhibition posits the artist as the ultimate alchemist, able to turn base materials into objects of aesthetic beauty, desire and intrigue.
These ideas are developed over three floors of the Edel Assanti Project Space in three chapters: ‘Colourless Eureka’, ‘Translated Time Machine’, and ‘Viewfinder of Babel’. In the building’s street-front window the visitor is greeted by Meekyoung Shin’s ‘translation-glass jar’, a series of vases exquisitely crafted from soap. The first chapter ‘Colourless Eureka’ takes the form of an installation in the basement of the building, where Jang-oh Hong explores the potential of deploying transparent materials to achieve a process of inverse-alchemy in the study of disappearance. ‘Translated time machine’ on the second floor includes further works by Meekyoung Shin, as well as paintings, objects and installations by Juliette Losq and Vaishali Pathak. The third floor is given over to the ‘Viewfinder of Babel’, a series of paintings by Gorka Mohamed, whose compositions vacillate between humour and unease.
The transformation of matter and the evolution of ideas have become familiar in contemporary art as the physical and the conceptual jostle for independence and status in the mind of the viewer. The five artists in this exhibition pursue idiosyncratic forms of alchemy, combining unexpected elements in innovative and extraordinary artworks.
Jang-oh Hong (b.1974) is a Korean born, London based artist and a graduate (MA) of Goldsmiths College of Art. Juliette Losq (b.1978) is an English artist based in London and will be graduating from Royal Academy of Art this summer. Vaishali Pathak (b.1986) is a Chinese-Indian British artist based in London and graduate of the Slade School of Art. Meekyoung Shin (b.1967) is a Korean born artist based in London. She has participated in international exhibitions including The British Museum, the Korean National Museum of Art and the Nanjing Triennial. Gorka Mohamed (b.1978) is a Spanish artist based in London and graduate from Goldsmiths College of Art. He has shown in London, Zaragoza, Beijing and Santander.