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Peter Burke x Messums Wiltshire | The Revelation of the Head

Peter Burke x Messums Wiltshire | The Revelation of the Head

18 Apr 2018

We are proud to announce that Peter Burke's work will be shown at the joint exhibition 'Revelation of the Head' & 'Henry Lamb RA: People Portraits' at Messums Wiltshire that will open with a summer party on the 26th May. The show encapsulates the fascination with this remarkable body part. And their 13th century barn is the setting for a carefully chosen selection of some of the best heads that history has to offer; ranging from ancient Greek, Egyptian, Contemporary & Self-referential depictions. Profits will be donated to HeadSmart, a campaign run by The Brain Tumour Charity.

Messums Wilstshire seamlessly contextualizes this special exhibition by these words;

"The human head, maintained by the skull, supports the face and encloses the organ of the brain. It has also fascinated artists, writers, philosophers and scientists for millennia. It is the central focus of our lives, the hub of all our senses; we feel as though we live life entirely within its fleshy confines, although recent mindfulness studies show that we can be as present throughout the entirety of our body. Yet, in the succinct words of the painter Tai-Shan Schierenberg, ‘the body is but a tripod for the head’ and as such the head acts, via a process of distillation, as an instantly recognisable index for each and every one of our individual personalities and personhoods. In fact, our biologically engineered response of seeing faces is so homed in that we see them where there are none to be had. This is known as pareidolia, a psychological phenomenon whereby the mind responds to a stimulus, (usually an image or a sound), by perceiving a familiar pattern where none exists. All this goes to show that we human beings often prioritise our heads ‘above’ our bodies, so much so that it has become a common trope for artists to detach it completely as a subject: a kind of creative decapitation.

These cross-temporal, cross-cultural heads will be shown in our medieval, 140ft long barn in two rows, facing inwards towards each other. They will fill the length of this magnificent space, calling to mind the ancient arcades of Greece and Rome, evoked in British displays of classical busts in institutions such as the National Portrait Gallery and Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. A Roman marble portrait of Emperor Antonius Pius, created in 2nd century CE, a Head of a Male created in 550-500 BCE Egypt and an Italian, 17th century terracotta head of a man are certainly the standout objects which originally pertain to these famous archaic cultures.

This exhibition will probe the legacy of such Greek, Egyptian and Italian renditions of the human head, tracing their histories through the plastic art of sculpture; highlighting the most significant examples and their subsequent visual descendants. This exhibition hopes to posit the idea that certain reiterations of the human head are eternal, seemingly pulling themselves through to the modern day by means of a kind of creative osmosis: an unignorably prominent presence within the zeitgeist.

Artists to include: Christy Symington, David Mach, Elisabeth Frink, Emily Young, Jonathan Yeo, Laurence Edwards, Sean Henry, Eric Kennington, John Davies, Glynn Williams, Brian Taylor, Nuria Torres, Keith Coventry, Abigail Fallis, Ralph Brown, Ellen Christiansen, Gavin Turk, Peter Burke and Kevin Francis-Grey".

For more information please visit the exhibition on the link below