Andrew Esiebo (UK)
Lydia Goldblatt
Spencer Rowell
Anxiety About God in an Ostensibly Godless Age 
6/3-29/3 2015

Guest curator by Mary George

"Anxiety About God in an Ostensibly Godless Age" is an exhibition of moving image works by Andrew Esiebo, Lydia Goldblatt and Spencer Rowell. The exhibition reflects on the power of rituals, performance in religion, fanaticism and earnest spiritual intent. By bringing together Esiebo’s God is Alive and Goldblatt’s And The Word Was God, the exhibition draws attention to the disparity of religious ritual and the performative aspect that seems crucial to validate faith. The journey begins, as portrayed by Goldblatt, with parental influence, in the way religion is so often learnt and internalised through adoption of and adherence to pre-existing structures.

While Esiebo draws you into a crusade (as they are called), an exuberant brand of praise reimagined by Nigerians from American exports. God is Alive reveals impenetrable collective faith and the business of religion. The works ascertain, ‘collective idolatry projects a feeling of belongingness', as philosopher Leszek Ko?akowski suggests in his essay from which the exhibition takes it’s title. He adds, ‘our life seems absorbed by something better than ourselves, and we feel ennobled, part of a higher reality. The act of worship elevates the worshipper.’

Rowell’s Icarus introduces a deviation. The myth of Icarus, a tale of failed ambitions or even, personal over-ambition, the quest for establishing a personal identity rather than the collective, the desire for the forbidden, is subtly, naively brought into this equation. The aim is not to question faith. As Ko?akowski suggests, ‘The question of belief and unbelief is banal, because it is ubiquitous’. The aim was to put together, the ridiculous and the innocent, the exuberant and the subtle, the manipulative alongside the earnest. Perhaps, by overlapping these complex paradigms, one might find the personal.

Review in Sydsvenskan: