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Hocus Pocus

Curious Matter
272 Fifth Street, Jersey City, 201-659-5771
Jersey City
March 30 - May 4, 2008

CURIOUS MATTER is pleased to present HOCUS POCUS, a group exhibition. Twenty four artists assembled to conjure spirits, debunk myths, tempt fate and provoke debate. The artists explore the magical theme with a broad range of mediums-from video to KY jelly and toothpaste-and present their singular visions with compelling results.

Among the theories to the origin of the rhyme Hocus Pocus, it is either a true incantation in ancient ritual magic, or a pseudo-Latin phrase used by medieval sleight-of-hand performers. Therein lie the two branches of the HOCUS POCUS exhibition: the genuine search for magic and meaning and the subsequent deceptions and trickery. In ritual magic, the hope is to somehow get the attention of the forces that control nature and convince them to enhance your life. This is done in various ways: symbols, offerings, incantations, mimicking nature; the list is long and varied. Vincent Como reimagines the powerful symbol of the pentagram which has connotations of both darkness and light, depending on whether one is reaching for the stars or hiding in the night. Yuko Kobayashi tries to show us the hidden power of words with her video. Written or spoken words become magic spells which manifest the reality of their content. Anthony Santella seduces a nature spirit from hiding by exposing the hidden soul within a tree. Personal energy is another way to encourage magic, as Brea Souder shows us with her image of hair clippings. Guard your shorn locks, they could be used to sap your strength. And mirrors hold many secrets which, it is supposed, they reflect back; as Suejin Youn reminds us.

But, when the gods ignore us and luck is elusive often we try to create our own magic. Amiée Burg’s magic box alludes to the classic disappearing act of magicians. Rebecca Sittler Schrock gives us the illusion of the transmutation of matter. Jennie Thwing’s gestures look mysterious, but what exactly is she up to? In many cultures, the artists were considered magicians who could channel the forces of nature to their own ends. Michelangelo insisted that the sculpture was trapped in the stone. All he did was free it, like a magician frees the hidden dove from the empty-looking box. HOCUS POCUS presents evidence of the power of art. Is it real, or, are they just too quick for you to see how they do it?

THE ARTISTS: Arthur Bruso • Aimée Burg • Vincent Como • Tara Giannini • Yuko Kobayashi • Bryan Lauch & Petra Pokos • Ross Bennett Lewis • Marianne McCarthy • Michael Nathaniel Meyer • Raymond E. Mingst • Carol Petino • Zach Rockhill • Anthony Santella • Rachael Serbinski • Laurie Sheridan • Rebecca Sittler Schrock • Brea Souders • P. Teramode • Jennie Thwing • Kelly Vetter • Alyssa Taylor Wendt • Jenn Wong • Suejin Youn • John J. Zirkelbach
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