“O’ Occident, O’ Orient! Rapprochez, regardez, reconnaissez, saluez, étreignez-vous.” - Papal envoy at Suez Canal, 1864
Rummaging through histories of Egyptology and the incidence of Egyptomania in the Occidental world, Timothy Hull’s exhibition at Freight + Volume will resemble a conceptually focused yet rambling cabinet of curiosities. This variegated Wunderkammer will consist of sundry, plaster Egyptian tourist statues, scents of funerary unguents, sounds of Egyptologists describing their discoveries, armchair traveler landscape videos, and a collection of feathery, heavily patterned drawings and built-up, mosaic-like oil paintings.
A varied cast of characters make appearances throughout the exhibition via drawings, paintings and mixed media works… men of adventure and tomb robbers, scientists, archeologists, ancient Egyptians, pharaohs and their personal effects, icons, books, museum pieces and venerable statues, the mysterious sphinx and of course, the great pyramids themselves. Together they comprise a sense of something justified and ancient to quote the esoteric stadium-house band the KLF.
I met a traveler from an antique land Who said, Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand, Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things, The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed. And on the pedestal these words appear: My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair! Nothing beside remains: round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, The lone and level sands stretch far away.
-Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1817
This project is born out of a particular passion and interest in a certain process of understanding; `non satis scire…’ to know is not enough. It is difficult to discover meanings, even through exhaustive research and digging. One can only distill what they read, see and what they find and then compose an idiosyncratic tableau vivant of what has occurred. Timothy Hull continues to concern himself with the nuances and intersections of history and mythology to locate an eclipse within fact and fiction. He further explores the way Westerners digest and perceive ancient cultures and artifacts- demystifying and reinforcing the stereotypes equated with them, casting a new light on Orientalism. The swarm of possible meanings acknowledges that the search is conceivably as fascinating as the discovery.