"Listen to them. Children of the night! What music they make!"
Few can forget Bela Lugosi in his famous role as the blood-sucking Count in Tod Browning's 1931 cult classic Dracula, delivering these immortal lines of dialogue in his sonorous Hungarian accent as a pack of wolves howls outside in the darkness.
The idea of Lugosi's offspring, his children of the night, and the music that they might make, is the concept that underpins the thematic group exhibition Lugosi's Children at Objectspace, but the works of the eleven exhibitors are not simply an evocation of the darkness that is an ever-present part of our lives. On the contrary, each of the works deals, in some sense, with the ways in which we cope with, understand, and confront the darkness through humour and parody; through observations of the beauty and symmetry of the natural world; through rites, superstitions and spiritual beliefs; through myth and story; and through history and memory.
Lugosi's Children, then, are the antithesis of escapists. They examine their own inner space for clues to the true nature of our experience of the world - in all its majesty and horror. A trio of oracles, a ceramic cross-dresser, a set of sutured goblets, a stuffed aunty, a vinyl curse, a plastic bag Olympia, a Freudian thought forest, a bejewelled gosling, a trio of predator/prey brooches, boxed addictions and charms, a floral memento mori, and three inedible cakes are all clues, potential maps of this numinous area where we confront our deepest hopes, memories, desires and fears.
When you examine these strange, dreamlike works of Lugosi's Children you will see that their wisdom may be intuitive; their 'music' a response to the logic of darkness rather than that of the daylight world, but sometimes those can be the only answers one can bear to listen to.
'Listen to them. Children of the night! What music they make!'
Lugosi's Children features works by Bronwynne Cornish, Julia deVille, Jane Dodd, Katharina Jaeger, Steph Lusted, Rosemary McLeod, Tim Main, Shelley Norton, Ben Pearce, Paul Rayner and Tanya Wilkinson.
Exhibition curated by Bronwyn Lloyd, and designed by Karl Chitham.
Objectspace Public Programme:
Curator Bronwyn Lloyd in conversation with artists Bronwynne Cornish, Katharina Jaeger and Shelley Norton, Saturday 27 August, 11am. Dr Jenny Lawn (Massey University) and Dr Jack Ross - a discussion of the gothic as a recurring theme in contemporary New Zealand film, literature and art, Saturday 24 September, 11am.
This exhibition is part of the REAL NZ Festival.
A publication for this exhibition is available to view or download here.