Chagall, Rego and Pacheco evoke the haunting magic of Angela Carter in an explosive new exhibition, twenty five years after her death.
Bristol’s first art gallery, the RWA, celebrates the life, work and influences of Angela Carter – one of the most distinctive literary voices of the last 100 years.
Strange Worlds: The Vision of Angela Carter (Sat 10 Dec 2016 – Sun 19 Mar 2017) invites a dialogue between art, literature and the imagination by exploring the artists who influenced Carter and those who were inspired by her.
(Caption: Wendy Mayer RCA, The Parting Gift, 2016: Photographer: Alice Hendy )
Delving into the latent meanings of childhood fairytales and the twisted imagery of gothic mysticism, this exhibition pays homage to the dark and compelling drama of Carter’s visual imagination – brutal, surrealist and savage.
Strange Worlds reveals the profound impact of Carter’s work on 21st century culture, and includes painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, printmaking and film from the nineteenth century to the present day.
Echoing Carter’s recurring themes of feminism, mysticism, sexuality and fantasy, the exhibition includes historically significant works by Marc Chagall, William Holman Hunt, Paula Rego, Dame Laura Knight, Leonora Carrington and John Bellany, on loan from major national collections.
The exhibition also features works by major contemporary artists who were either directly influenced by Carter, or who explore themes found throughout her work. These include Ana Maria Pacheco – who presents her macabre and unsettling installation, The Banquet – Alice Maher, Eileen Cooper RA, Tessa Farmer, Nicola Bealing RWA, Marcelle Hanselaar and Lisa Wright RWA.
These works are shown alongside illustrations from Carter’s books, manuscripts, photographs and personal artefacts that give a fascinating and intimate insight into her life and work.
The exhibition is curated by Dr Marie Mulvey-Roberts of UWE, and the artist and writer Fiona Robinson RWA.
Carter lived in Bristol from 1961 for nearly a decade. She studied at Bristol University where she specialised in medieval literature, which piqued her interest in the gothic themes explored throughout her writing.
While living in Bristol, she also wrote The Bristol Trilogy (1966-1971), three novels set in the city in which, according to her friend and editor Lorna Sage, ‘art and life mingle so that life itself is often a form of art’.
The Get Angela Carter festival celebrates Angela Carter’s Bristol connections around the 25th anniversary of her death and draws together various activities and events happening in Bristol and beyond, including the Strange Worlds Exhibition (10 Dec – 19 Mar) and the Fireworks Conference (9-10 Jan). For an overview of what’s on offer, please download this Calendar of Events. Pussy: An operatic adaptation of Angela Carter’s Puss in Boots has been cancelled but may be performed later this year.
Read an account of the RWA’s Bristol800 Weekender Centre Stage which took place in January.