‘Books recommend that you mark your entry into magic by taking up one of the arts of divination: tarot, crystals, runes or stars. He tried each of these practices, but they didn’t stick. His entry into magic was marked by a butt massage in Alberta.‘
– Queer Spirits by AA Bronson & Peter Hobbs
Lubricants & Literature is the first solo exhibition at Tenderpixel of represented artist Richard Healy. Including a series of new sculptures and a video installation accompanied by a limited edition publication, the show explores a moment of true magic in the tension between stasis and transformation.
The exhibition refers to a peculiar anecdote in the history of Cecil Court in London, in which the famous occultist and writer Aleister Crowley performed an incantation in Watkins Books, opposite where Tenderpixel now stands. In this private performance for John Watkins in 1929, Crowley made all the books in the store disappear, whilst simultaneously making them reappear. Side stepping whether to consider this tale a joke, a bravura performance or pure trickery, the exhibition instead focuses on the moment before the books reappear – an instant that is both mutable and static. Spread throughout both floors of the gallery, the numerous, and almost contrasting physical elements revisit the tale in different ways.
Combining literature and design, twirls and twists of metal rods hold open a number of publications collected from the surrounding bookshops of Cecil Court. Suspended in mid-air, the sculptures play act with the notions of Crowley’s incantation, whilst also performing as book stands. Healy’s work and displays often revolve around a video piece, which tells fragmented yet intriguing stories of unusual characters through the materialisation of incredible and visually speculative places. In the exhibition Lubricants & Literature, the video piece expands the original ideas and references embodied by the sculptures displayed on the ground floor. The entirely digitally rendered video simultaneously exploits and unravels the presence of the books, augmenting their contents to create a hyper narrative.Taking the form of a memory palace, the video shows a succession of interconnected architectural spaces, whilst following the path of a fictional narrator – half architect, half shaman – who explores his self-erected environment through a series of sexual encounters.
Lubricants & Literature video credits: narrated by Walles Hamonde, soundtrack by Paul Purgas.
Richard Healy (b 1980, London UK) lives and works in London. He completed his MA in Fine Art at the Royal College of Art, London in 2008.
Residencies and Awards include Fire Station Live/Work Programme, Acme Studios (2015 – 2020); Defining Pi, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge UK (July – Sept, 2013); i- land artist in residence, London / Worcester UK (Jun – Aug, 2009); Stanley Picker Fellowship, Kingston University (1 year residency program, 2008); Red Mansion Art Prize (Beijing Residency) Beijing CN (Sept – Oct, 2008).
Recent solo exhibitions include The Great Indoors, Marian Cramer Projects, Amsterdan NL (2017); Lubricants & Literature, Tenderpixel, London UK (2016); Zodiac Beach, LRRH, Berlin DE (2016); Victor Hugo Lost in Cherry Grove, with Tenderpixel at Art International, Istanbul TR (2015); Outside the Red House, Marian Cramer Projects, Amsterdam NL (2015); The Pines, White Cubicle, London UK (2014); Prone Positions, Rowing, London UK (2013); Vetiver, Marian Cramer Projects, Amsterdam NL; But Mr Architect!, Furnished Space, London UK (both 2012) and Strategies for Building, Outpost, Norwich UK (2011).
Selected group exhibitions and screenings include The London Open, Whitechapel Gallery, London UK (2018); I like to fondle, Acme Fire Station, London UK (2017); Cruising Spaces, LUX, London UK (2017); Now We Are Six, Marian Cramer Projects, Amsterdam NL (2016); The Ultimate Vessel, Koppe Astner, Glasgow UK (2016); Discursive Objects, WAH Gallery, Eindhoven NL (2015); Blurred Edges: Non/Fiction, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle US, as part of the Black Box Festival, (2015); The Best Tailor in Town, Hunt Kastner, Prague CH (2015); On the Devolution of Culture, Rob Tufnell, London UK (2014); Last Seen Entering the Biltmore (curated by Anna Gritz), South London Gallery, London UK; I love you Me either, Project Native Informant London UK (both 2014); SECCESSONE (curated by Rhys Coren, Paul Flannery & Attilia Fattori Franchini), bubblebyte.org (2013); Blue Lagoon (curated by Candice Jacobs), One Thornesby Street, Nottingham UK (2013); One and One and One, CGP London UK (2012); Forth & Back, Limoncello, London UK; Florence Loewy, Paris FR; 10,000 Hours, Glasgow International, Glasgow UK; YBAII (curated by Ryan Gander and Christina von Rotenhan), Dienstgebaude, Zurich CH (all 2012).
Publications include Lubricants & Literature (2017), published with Tenderbooks and Tenderpixel, with writings by Sasha Craddock and Chris McCormack, launched at OFFPRINT London, Tate Modern, London UK (2017) and NY Art Book Fair, MoMA PS1, New York USA (2017).
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