NIGHTSHAKING WITH THE INGRAM COLLECTION
NightShaking With The Ingram Collection The Lightbox Woking 10 July - 19 September 2021
NightShaking is a collaborative exhibition that uses works from The Ingram Collection, displayed alongside contributions from contemporary artists Dr Chantal Powell and Dean Melbourne, who work in the field of mythology, alchemy and depth psychology. For the past three years Chantal and Dean have worked on the project NightShaking - a personal and artistic journey of the "Night Sea Journey" that explores the unconscious and its associated symbolic language. As both artists traversed their own personal trauma, they set about exploring alchemical manuscripts from the Wellcome Collection's rare books archive, immersed themselves in myths and stories, and worked with a Jungian analyst specialising in these areas. They created sculptures, paintings and prints that spoke to this experience. This work is being shown here for the first time alongside pieces they have curated from the Ingram Collection of British Modern Art that they felt expressed the experience and poetic language of this journey.
Dean Melbourne, B.E.M. - Divination - Cult of the Depths (2020), Mixed media on panel
The “Night Sea Journey” or “Dark Night of the Soul” is what we call an archetypal motif. It’s an image we relate to the darkest, most difficult moments in our lives, and it occurs in mythology, stories and poems across the centuries and throughout the world. Psychologist Carl Jung called it "a descent into Hades and a journey to the land of ghosts". It is Dante straying into the dark wood, Odysseus tossed on the waves on his journey to the underworld, Jonah in the belly of the whale. In alchemy it is the difficult Nigredo stage, often described as “blacker than the blackest black”.
Above: Installation View NightShaking With The Ingram Collection Right: Graham Sutherland, Tin Mine Various Aspects (1942), Crayon and wax resist, pen and ink
The subterranean world that Sutherland depicts in his mine drawings is a visual metaphor for the journey we make downwards into the unconscious. Like the symbol of the cave prevalent in myths and legends, it symbolises a passage to the underworld or a sacred site of initiation. We travel down, braving the darkness, re-entering the womb of mother Earth.
Dean Melbourne, B.E.M. - Divination -VI (2021), Mixed media on panel
Chantal Powell, Night Journey (2020), Bitumen, plaster and straw
Chantal Powell’s bitumen Night Journey (2020) boat, made during the depths of her personal Night Sea Journey, was based on a bitumen model boat in the British Museum that was excavated part way down a burial shaft. A powerful archetypal symbol of passage or crossing over. The dark crescents of John Behan’s (2003) bronze Ghost Boat provide a counterpart to Powell’s boat. Much like the funerary boats of Northern Europe, Behan’s boat evokes the coming full circle of our last journey, a return to our watery beginnings. The symbol of the boat is also maternal, cradling, a womb. It is the containing vessel that keeps one from being consumed by the chaos of the watery depths.
John Behan, Ghost Boat (2003), Bronze with a brown patina
Dean Melbourne, B.E.M. - Divination -V - Minevra (2020), Mixed media on panel Lynn Chadwick, Sitting Woman in Robes II (1987), Bronze with a black patina
Dame Elizabeth Frink ,C.H., R.A., 1930-1993 Above: Warrior Birds (1957), Pen and black ink Left: Bird (1958) ,Bronze with a dark brown patina
The black raven or crow is associated with death and transformation. It’s the creature used to symbolise the first stage of the inner alchemical process known as “the dark night of the soul” or “Nigredo” when the alchemist first encounters their shadow self. Difficult, painful and confrontational but essential for transformation to take place. The crow my son, that which is born of the crow is the beginning of Art. ~ Hermes Trismegistus
Chantal Powell, Antecedent I (2020), Painted and patinated bronze
Chantal Powell, Antecedent II (2020), Painted and patinated bronze
Dean Melbourne, B.E.M. - Divination Triptych (2020), Mixed media on panel
The Black Eyed Monster (B.E.M.) is an alter ego created by Dean Melbourne. As he moved through his Night Sea Journey of mental health crisis he experienced ego fragmentation. The alter ego enabled him to continue to paint, creating the works he called Divinations. The pieces can be reversed, much like Tarot, to ascribe new meaning for the reciever.
Geoffrey Clarke, Head (1952), iron unique
Dean Melbourne, Untitled (2021), Drypoint Etching
Chantal Powell, Boat & Ladder Study (2021), Glazed ceramic
The second room of the NightShaking exhibition moves out of the depths as the Night Sea Journey moves towards the dawn. Pieces like Elizabeth Frink’s drawings have a wonderful lightness to them, speaking of transformation and an onward journey. Lynn Chadwick’s 𝘞𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘥 𝘍𝘦𝘮𝘢𝘭𝘦 𝘍𝘪𝘨𝘶𝘳𝘦 (1957) is imperfect but victorious, a resurrection from the ashes. 𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘨𝘰𝘯𝘦, 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘯 𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘴𝘭𝘦𝘱𝘵, (𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘢𝘸𝘢𝘬𝘦𝘯) 𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘥𝘪𝘦𝘥, 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘭𝘪𝘷𝘦
- 𝘈𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘌𝘨𝘺𝘱𝘵𝘪𝘢𝘯 𝘗𝘺𝘳𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘥 𝘵𝘦𝘹𝘵
Dame Elizabeth Frink, Left: The Boy Who Cried Wolf (1968), Pencil and watercolour Right: The Three Riders (1974), Lithograph in three colours
Chantal Powell, Dogon Ladders I & II (2020), Patinated bronze and gilt bronze
Ascending and descending. Above and below. We descend to the unconscious to bring back what is needed to consciousness. In Mali, Dogon ladders have a double usage. Carved out of tree trunks they are used in the physical world to access granaries and rooftops. Miniature versions are also made as spiritual objects representing the ascent of the soul. Part of our Night Sea Journey is learning to marry the spiritual and material worlds, to live from a deeper place of integration and wholeness.
Chantal Powell, Mandala Chambers I – VII (2019-2021), Smoke fired clay, copper oxides, potassium, salt
“In Mercurial fashion, the movement through the labyrinth veers back and forth, round and round, creating a dance whose steps eventually weave a vessel strong enough to hold what was at first intolerable experience.” - The Book of Symbols Each of these seven chambers is a labyrinthine journey of the unconscious. Made over a period of three years, each started as a drawn mandala sketch before being worked into clay - around, inwards, upwards, morphing into new passages. A tower, a shelter, or a dead end. Then an alchemical firing the furnace an oil drum outdoors - wood, fire, air. Sometimes cracking and breaking, others a beautiful blackening or reddening. Always a transformation. “It is through the fire that Nature is changed” Eliade, Mircea, The Forge and the Crucible, 1978
On the “crossing over” wall between the two 𝘕𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘚𝘩𝘢𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 rooms there are five small alchemical works. A foretelling of the crowning of nature that is possible as a result of the work of the Night Sea Journey. Dean Melbourne’s 𝘊𝘳𝘰𝘸𝘯 (𝘐𝘯𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘵𝘦𝘥) painting holds the centre of the wall with Chantal Powell's bronze 𝘈𝘭𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘮𝘺 𝘊𝘳𝘰𝘸𝘯 sculpture to the left. The bronze Crown is paired with a beautiful, jewel-like Dora Carrington painting, 𝘐𝘳𝘪𝘴 𝘛𝘳𝘦𝘦 𝘖𝘯 𝘈 𝘏𝘰𝘳𝘴𝘦 (C.1920s), made from silver foil, oils and ink on glass. A triumphant, almost Arthurian image, the female figure charges heroically on her quest with a sword at her side and a billowing blue cloak. To the right another of Powell's bronze works, a pair of flaming wands based on an emblem from Claude Paradin’s 𝘋𝘦𝘷𝘪𝘴𝘦𝘴 𝘏𝘦𝘳𝘰𝘪𝘲𝘶𝘦𝘴 (1551), sits above John Craxton’s gold-framed 𝘚𝘮𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘍𝘪𝘴𝘩 (1956). The fish is a familiar symbol of the unconscious but this wonderfully colourful image is also indicitive of the transformative “cauda pavonis” (peacock's tail) moment of alchemy in which an array of colours appear.
Dora Carrington, Iris Tree On A Horse (c.1920s), Ink, oil, silver foil and mixed media on glass Chantal Powell, Alchemy Crown (2020), bronze
Dean Melbourne, Crown Inverted (2019-2021), mixed media on panel
Chantal Powell, Both Of Them Do Burn (2020), bronze
CONTACT IIf you would like any further information about the exhibition or the works featured please contact Chantal Powell 0788559498 email@example.com
The exhibition runs until 19th September at The Lightbox in Woking. If you would like a personal walk through do get in touch.