A Snake Without A Head Is Just A Rope: Sebastian Hammwöhner, Vojtěch Kovařík, Dan Mandelbaum, Stefan Rinck

7 November - 21 December 2019

Sim Smith is delighted to present, 'A Snake Without A Head Is Just A Rope'.


The title of the show alludes to ritual being made of many component parts and how, without one of its parts, it can be made redundant or even morph or appear to be something else. If a ritual is asequence of activities or actions performed in a certain place or to a set sequence, then this group exhibition takes ancient ritual as its catalyst and supercharges it for the modern day.


The exhibition features artworks by Sebastian Hammw.hner (b. 1974, Germany), Vojtěch Kovařik (b. 1993, Czech Republic), Dan Mandelbaum (b. 1994, US), Stefan Rinck (b. 1973, Germany).


The worship of snake deities was present in several ancient cultures, particularly in religion and mythology where snakes embodied the entities of strength and renewal. In exploring how and why new rituals come into being, the artists in this show borrow logic from the ancient and reflect not only what they see in their waking life but also possibly what they hope and dream to see in the future.


Combining original paintings and sculpture that ponder individual and collective human experience, this exhibition casts a wide net over cultural anthropology, ancient myth, storytelling and popular culture. Through their work, the artists explore subjects including the cosmos, technology, the interconnectivity of animals, people and nature, gender, history and magic. Primitive-like marks carve crocodiles out of pink marble, the dust of colourful pastels re-weave rugs of the ancients, mermaids glisten in ceramic slip and couples emerge embracing from layers of paint. There is a flattening of hierarchies between the fine and domestic arts and an adoption of the intuition of felt experience as opposed to conventional reason and logic. It is a show where the mundane is made monumental and where ritual is no longer the traditional keeper of boundaries but instead sets them free.