In 2016 artists Thomson & Craighead made a perfume-artwork called Apocalypse: re-creating the olfactory description of the end of the world from the King James Bible’s Book of Revelation. A work as timely as it was prophetic, Apocalypse was made the same year as the EU referendum – a historical event that shattered the way many in Britain conceptualised the future. Ever since, the language of the apocalypse has increasingly been used to articulate (or refute) life after Brexit in the press, political discourse, newspaper cartoons, and on social media. MP David Davis’ claims that there would not be a ‘Mad Max-style Brexit’ in February 2018 certainly didn’t help dispel the idea – nor did The Sunday Times’ report about the UK government’s ‘Doomsday’ plan for Brexit a few months later. What are the politics of invoking the apocalypse as a metaphor to describe the Brexit process? Thomson & Craighead will speak about Apocalypse alongside more recent work made in response to Brexit, to consider how their practice probes the anxiety and uncertainty that marks our turbulent times.
Jon Thomson is a Professor of Fine Art at UCL’s the Slade School of Fine Art, and Alison Craighead is a Lecturer in Fine Art at Goldsmiths and a Reader in contemporary art and visual culture at the University of Westminster. Both studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, University of Dundee. In 2004 they were awarded Fellowships at The MacDowell Colony, in 2012 were shortlisted for the Samsung Art Prize and in 2014 for the Nam June Paik Award. Their work has been exhibited across the world: from Tate Britain, to Berkley Art Museum in San Francisco, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, the Centre International d’Art Contemporain de Montreal, and Haus der Kunst in Munich.
Organised by Dr Edwin Coomasaru (The Courtauld)