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Little Prayers Gallery - July 3, 2024

Welcome to Little Prayers, the self-destructing gallery. Here for a good time not a long time.

This week, we've rid ourselves of touch to make room for new senses.


Antony Gormley - Mirage

antony gormley mirage sculpture angel of the north steel welding figure figuration abstraction photography public art english moors field ghost

All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, as we labour under the sun, our efforts steaming, dissipating, until we too, are no more. We sweat with the promise of meaning, propitious and writing with slurring confidence, the world comes to me, and I try to focus this tightrope realisation:

We chase meaning, shadows of a light, hoping to bind our lives to something greater, something beyond the mere act of living. What is this search but a relentless drive, an obsession cloaked as virtue, demanding answers where there may be none? All this striving, has it brought us closer to truth or further from the simplicity of being? Meaning, we say, as if it holds the key, as if the world will unravel its deepest shame if only we probe deep enough, push hard enough.

Yet the flowers bloom without purpose, sunsets paint the sky with no motive, and the river flows asking nothing of the trees that shade its banks. To lie down by a slow river and stare at the light in the trees — to learn something by being nothing — is it not in the relinquishing, the surrender to the moment, that true freedom lies? “Just do your best,” they say, and perhaps that covers everything, perhaps that is the secret we've missed in our endless quest for meaning.

Can art withstand these laws if it is built on abstraction, on mirage, and fiction? Talking about the material here feels trivial, the forced relevance, the expected commentary, the prying apart of the individual and the collective, the concrete and the immaterial, the subjective and the universal, where truth isn't distinguishable from either binary but rather finding one is just a different expression of the other. Left eye, right eye, shift focus from one to the other and see whole new coronas of luminous bodies.

But such concentration calls for a jolt, and nobody can come out clean, surely newly coated in the patina of the manure of achieving enlightenment, eyes fixing on some tutelary shape in the fog only vaguely resembling what might be an angel or might be a man or might be a mountain or might be my reflection or might be my thoughts or might be nothing at all.

All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower falls, but the spirit in its simple being finds peace in the act of existence, finds meaning in the meaningless, and in doing nothing, does everything.

- Written by Bryson Edward Howe


John Singer Sargent - The Bends

Images become whipped by light when met at true face value. This rendezvous has traditionally been the work of the fictioner - careful lapidaries who render the world anew whilst protecting its unhatched flow (call it what you will; magic) - but I believe it to be the duty of the art writer, too.

Noir's dove-quartered cellars are precisely the onrush of The Shadow that its name predicts, in which the violent are dogged by paranoid conjurations of cuckoldry. But to contextualise this within the pursuit of light would be a mistake. All of their efforts are motivated by a fear of the dark, which ironically requires an intimacy with the hinterself to clearly point out its shape, as when darkness finally ascends it will leap from their heels and fracture them backwards into the throat. Dutiful artists accurately envision the lode within the gangue without breaking it, holding death dreams up to the light, and casting through the viewer's bodies long shapes. Better artists will have the courage to leave the dream on the plinth and say "do with it what you will, look at it from every side, let it chit, see its faces", an inherently anarchic act that those in control usually dislike. What Salome doesn't let on - as she leaves, sequinshattered through jade - is not only that she had first dibs on the sunset, has already seen it leak over the horizon before beating it back to watch a second time with the camp, but in doing so battled her shadow on the hills, cast in poppy and clay, colours of revelry and rain, tried to hack at its ankles with an axe, strummed it into ductile forms, or thrown a stylus far enough to send it writhing out the window of the world a rancour, becoming for one short instant the dancer, the cuckold, the castrator and the band. And learning in her bronze jamboree that lopping off the head cleanly will stand the shadow a liar, inaccurate, and momentarily devoid of power.

- Written by Caleb Carter


Apichatpong Weerasethakul - Mysterious Objects at Noon

Like Weerasethakul's film, the following text was written as an exquisite corpse, with each contributor writing one line before sending it to the next. Each contributor only saw the line that came before their own. Also like Weerasethakul's film, the finished piece seems to find a world destroyed, a world that is shredded to pieces, and in which all of the damaged people, all of the wounded, everything coexists at the same time:


Once Upon a time...

Confusion’s victory evoked a pyrrhic triumph of counterfeit nights, where grazing spirits circle, with silver skin and golden blood.

Hunger happens in circles.

Under - roots below, let's say - there is still a tree and a moon and a thicket of dogs on cue howling. Once a fortnight their brambles part, pupsinteeth, leaving vacant an iris or a pitless cherry grove.

Under - soil below - there is a cluster of moss curving at the edges, wearing stillness as a sleeve - whilst the carrion flow of deerflesh swells in the embryo lawn.

What is the difference between wheelchair poverty and being a woman?

The simplest thing a woman can do: chilli powder was blown into my eyes, empty bottles to bhat, discarded cursed chains, a boxing match promising Dogfahrs' protection.

Residing in this floating world dead in the cripple's closet.

Is the film over now? Don't forget my KFC chicken. Don't forget...

- Written by Bryson Edward Howe, Caleb Carter, Luisa De la Concha Montes, Joey Hollis, and Alana Clegg


Yoko Ono - Grapefruit Page 11, SECRET PIECE

A secret is exciting, erratic, it darts from ear to ear in a dance like that of the wind around trees.

Unpredictable and everchanging as it is uttered from mouths sworn to silence. The small

betrayals evoke momentary fluster. Glinting eyes and curling lips labelling one as complicit.

Chills radiate from the mild danger, as momentary confessions laced with passion tint faces

with deep reds like that of the early morning sky.

However, in its simplicity, Yoko Ono’s instructional piece invites any individual to become part of

the secret, rendering any supposed mystery null. One persistent note acts as an invitation to

welcome the dawning sun, to join the untamed chorus of the wilderness. Yet even in this

supposed integration, humanity denies acceptance. By removing the poetic nature of music,

the unique connection between performance and performer, the piece falls into the same trap

of monotony as the notes. Repetition is eerie. Alien. It conflates control with order and rewards

routine, conformity. And this is reflected in the revision, which leans away from the instinctive

reverence documented in the original meandering writing. Instead, it boxes the river-like flow of

music with borders of mechanical print lettering, the unremarkable text foreshadowing an

unremarkable outcome.

A secret told to all ceases to hold power.

- Written by Janna Ajmal (@Janna_j4nn4)


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