Exhibition: Ragged Kingdom, Isis Gallery at Londonewcastle Depot, London, until July 30 2011
Spiritualist, anarchist and shaman, Jamie Reid exudes electric energy whatever he turns his hand to.
In this case, it turns out the creator of The Sex Pistols’ artwork of the 1970s wants to uncover the Aspects of the Eightfold Year, a version of the calendar divided into sections based around equinoxes, solstices, the alignment of the solar system and key dates in the agricultural year.
Based in a depot, Ragged Kingdom takes its lead from a traditional poem of ploughs, towers, trees, stars and seas and strings up a series of magical tipis in a ritual circle within a sparse depot, re-enacting a peace camp where each tent is a world in itself.
These worlds represent separate paths of Reid’s career, ranging from his time as the artistic director for tribal electro-folk band Afro Celt Sound System to his lengthy creative residency at the Strongroom Studios in Shoreditch and his politically fierce early days on the Suburban Press. The exterior features a montage of posters, glyphs and symbols.
Curator John Marchant first worked with Reid when he was asked to assemble a full-scale retrospective of his work in New York in 1997.
“I'd never met Jamie before and as we started to get things together it quickly struck me how this was a man of conviction and wisdom, possessing a wide breadth of knowledge that encompassed social politics, esoteric sprirituality, astronomy, free jazz and Fulham FC,” he says.
“It was also immediately clear that this was a man who relished a collaboration – seeing what happened when the rein was loosened. That first exhibition was called Peace Is Tough.
“Over the years we have met in various parts of the world and Jamie has always charmed me with his modesty, honesty, integrety and talent.”
- Isis Gallery at Londonewcastle Depot, Wenlock Road, London . Open Tuesday-Saturday 12pm-6pm. Admission free.