Bureau is pleased to open 2013 with the exhibition Monsalvat, a project conceived by collaborators Andrea Merkx and Nathan Gwynne. With the work of over fifty contributors, the gallery will be transformed into a group exhibition-cum-music-video set to be used for periodic filming throughout the show.
Monsalvat is the first installment by Merkx & Gwynne in their sprawling series King Arthur Rock Opera, a multi-part project that will engage musicians, authors, artists and artisans, sound, film and television professionals in re-imagining Arthurian legend. The exhibition's title is taken from Munsalvaesche, the name given to the castle of the Fisher King in Wolfram von Eschenbach's 13th-century tale.
Employing a raked stage floor built in medieval-esque forced perspective, this first episode will center around the hall of the Fisher King in which Perceval encounters the procession of sacred objects, notably candelabras, a bleeding lance and the holy grail. In a massive collaborative undertaking, the objects and architectural elements in the space are bespoke artworks, made or altered specifically for the exhibition, from the tiled floor pattern, stained glass window design to the salon hanging of prints and paintings and archway which recedes into a tromp l'oeil wall painting extending the line of sight.
Merkx & Gwynne mine a network of diverse producers to generate a new model for exhibition-making that allows for play-oriented collaboration. Re-imagining ways in which artists can create and work together to produce particular key elements within a larger narrative, the density of Monsalvat foreshadows the scope and ambition of their King Arthur Rock Opera. Absurd in scale and squashed into the confines of Bureau's gallery, the show merges the genres of rock music, film and fan fiction with contemporary art.
'Damn you, wherever the sun lights your path' shouted the page. 'You silly goose! Why didn't you open your gob and ask my lord the Question?'