Catland Books and Stephen Romano Gallery present CULT OF SPIRITS
Alexis Palmer Karl and Ken Weaver
Alexis Palmer Karl and Ken Weaver
CULT OF SPIRITS
A conjuring, a ritual, a spell.
performance installation with
at CATLAND BOOKS, May 5th – May 6th 2018
Sculpture, music, live performance, fragrance and photography create an immersive installation, calling forth spirits while sanctifying the ritual object. The installation is about loss as much as it is about creation and balance. We challenge the sterility of western death as we create a space of ritualized music, movement and art, finding the sacred in the modern era. The performance installation is both an act of mourning and a celebration of rebirth. We will harness the elements to create our story; the artists as shaman, as we unfold the tale of life and death and life again.
Alexis Palmer Karl detail “VESSEL OF INFINITE LONGING”
Large scale daguerreotypes line the walls: the specters caged in metal. True spirits of the artist’s invention, they are hauntingly nostalgic, crying forth from the netherworld. A large pendulum is suspended above a ritual table holding two ritual /scrying bowls, one of life, with flora bursting from it’s ceramic base, the other of death, bone white, and encrusted with geodes and teeth. Hybrid skulls set amidst them teem with lichen and moss- promises of rebirth, or remain austere with white crystals and salt, harbingers of death.
The installation performance is a volley of light and dark, encompassing the viewer, while demanding self reflection, searching and conjuring. The performance of the LEX Requiem is conceived as a conjuring spell, heightened by the presence of spirit photography and ritualized objects.
DISINFO interview with Alexis Palmer Karl
DISINFO – What is the impetus behind this performance instalation at Catland books?
Alexis Palmer Karl – Catland is a marvelously inclusive magic store, gallery and performance space, a safe place for people to pursue their ritualistic interests. In addition, it is a community of witches who embrace the esoteric and occult practices in this modern era. Cult of Spirits performance installation is designed as a conjuring spell- both performative and artistic elements meant to be fully immersive. Catland literally vibrates with magic… spell work is an everyday event here- and a space, charged with such magical resonance felt perfect for our work.
DISINFO – This is a collaborative even with Ken Weaver your husband and often collabarator. As well you have Anda Volley joined by The Love Showdancers, David Slone, Ximena Balmori, Dani Leigh and Fly Fyrce . Could you tells us a bit about how this came together?
Alexis Palmer Karl – Ken Weaver and I have the pleasure of not only being married, but of having very similar sensibilities within our artwork. At one point we realized we are often trying to communicate the same thing. For years we kept our work separate, but a few years ago, we began sharing models, which then led to collaborating on a series of short films. We are both musicians. Ken is a singer in the hard rock band, Growler, and I sing dark, gothic ambient through my solo project, LEX; and we often perform with dancers. In fact, much of the music you will hear at Cult of Spirits was composed with dance in mind. I think of a musical passage and imagine the dancer lifting her arms, an other, and she is swirling to the floor.
Our dancers ( The love Show Dancers, Ximena Balmori, Dani Leigh and Demi -Flye Fyrce) have been featured many times in our photography, film and paintings- we are really one big performing family! We couldn’t imagine presenting Cult of Spirits without them, as they bring a theatrical element to the music and the installation itself. To have living, moving dancers, responding the work creates this visual, emotional spectacle, and adds to human element that can sometimes be a bit lost in installation work.
Anda Volley is this incredible musician I have performed with a few times, and who shares a dark musical sensibility with me. I find her work very haunting. Anda weaves melodies in and out of sound, noise and voice, which feel like spell-weaving. The music is quite shamanic really, and touches on this very trans-inducing, mystic musicality which Ken and I thought would be a perfect balance with my LEX Requiem and the installation itself.
Together, we all form a sort of Cult of Spirits Troupe- music, art, dance…. we are as Shamans ( The name Cult of Spirits comes from a group of 3rd C. BC. shamans who were masters of necromancy and divination), and through these artistic and performative elements, we will lift the veil, and transport our audience.
DISINFO – How you intend you visual art to function on the same level of intensity as your music, scent work, singing?
Alexis Palmer Karl – I think of all of these elements in balance with one another. The spirit photography and sculptures are ritualized objects which embody a world of light and dark, of composition and balance. Visually, they pull forth haunting imagery that is sometimes beautiful, sometimes disturbing.. and is always something we as humans can recognize in ourselves. The fragrant element within the sculptures serve to enhance the physicality of the objects- evoking an olfactory emotional response. One scent is of dust and decay while the other is of growth and life.
The music and movement resound with their own intensity, composition and balance… a sort of vibration within the melody and drone that reaches deep within .. . As for singing, this is the incantation for our conjuring spell, and in the great tradition of spell work, it embodies the idea that breath, sound and words carry power and magic. Each element volleys back and forth, vibrating against one another in sound, scent music and image…each equally intense, equally evocative.
Alexis Karl email@example.com
Stephen Romano firstname.lastname@example.org
|Alexis Palme Karl‘s work has been exhibited in the states and internationally, with performances at the Whitney Biennial and Guggenheim Museum, and is represented in New York by Stephen Romano Gallery. Alexis’s work explores the reinventing of oracular magic and ritualistic objects and the redefining of the witch archetype.|
Ken Weaver has shown his work nationally and internationally with exhibitions at G Module and Gallerie Exprmntl in France, Schroeder Romero & Shredder Gallery and Stephen Romano Gallery in New York City. His work embraces a heavy metal- meets-baroque sensibility, often addressing the concept of the artist as an immortal being, touching on the spirit realm and further: into the recesses of collective fantasy and esoteric imagery.