Oona Grimes : Conversations with Angels
Oona Grimes
Oona Grimes ccc #2 (detail) 2007

2 November - 16 December 2007

Conversations with Angels is a new series of drawings informed by the life and work of John Dee (1527 - 1608) documenting 'actions' or seances mediated through his scryer, Edward Kelley. Locked in the secret interna bibliotheca of his house, Dee and Kelley pressed angelic spirits for the claves or keys that would enable them to decode the lost Enochian language. Enoch's Book of the Old Testament contained his own record of the language God taught Adam. Whoever discovered the Adamic language would rediscover the key of Divine Knowledge.

A catalogue with a text by Iain Sinclair accompanies the exhibition.

Alongside the drawings for Conversations with Angels, a separate room has been devoted to the correspondence in image and text between Oona Grimes and the writer Leslie Forbes. ABS NCES records the first two years of this collaboration, an unfinished journey that began at another exhibition in the summer of 2005 where Oona and Leslie met and expressed mutual admiration for each other's work. Oona then proposed an experiment: she would send Leslie an image, and to it Leslie would respond with words which would, they hoped, inspire Oona. When the correspondence proved interesting enough to continue, it was decided that there would be no deadlines set for the replies, no discussion of any map or direction that the travellers would follow. Characters emerged, a plot (its central mystery as yet unsolved), a theme...and a fractured timescale partly attributed to Leslie's epilepsy - which causes hallucinatory 'absence' seizures generated in her brain's left hemisphere - and above all, the freedom with which artist and writer have allowed the compass to swing freely between one hemisphere and the other.

ABS NCES has also been published as a limited edition book.

Oona Grimes trained at the Slade School of Fine Art and is a visiting lecturer at the Ruskin School of Fine Art, Oxford University. Recent exhibitions include Uncanny Tales (with Paula Rego, Ana Maria Pacheco and Marcelle Hanselaar) touring throughout UK and Belgium; Pêche à la ligne, Brittany, France; Grotto, 1:1, London; Bounty, APT Gallery, London. Collections: New York Public Library; Manchester Metropolitan; Strang Collection, University College, London; The Governing Body of Macau; Lineker College, Oxford University; Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

Born in Canada, Leslie Forbes has worked in London as a writer, artist and broadcaster for over twenty years. She is the author of four award-winning travel books. Her first novel, the international bestseller, Bombay Ice, was published in 1998 to huge acclaim. Her second novel, Fish, Blood and Bones, was nominated for the Orange Prize.


Click thumbnails to see large images

Oona Grimes   Oona Grimes   Oona Grimes
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Oona Grimes   Oona Grimes   Oona Grimes   Oona Grimes
Oona Grimes   Oona Grimes

… We say that a storyboard is graphic and we think: graphite. Lustre and lubricant, plumbago. Black lead. The darkest muds of consciousness mined for their alchemical potential. Nigredo. Toad pebbles. Executioners suiciding in the eyeless hoods of their trade. There is a narrative, clearly, of fragments and fractures, water-wheels, star-mills. Knobbled sticks, planchette gloves, masks. Light surgery. Three-dimensional images flattened in an olive press. The uncommissioned film that continues, of its own volition, when the participants have walked away. Loose sheets of an elephant folio nailed to a white wall by some boiling Luther, hungry for skin...

© Iain Sinclair 2007

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