Art Review: Ritual Without Myth @ Royal College Of Art

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 79 months ago
Art Review: Ritual Without Myth @ Royal College Of Art
Patrizio Di Massimo, Turandiade Buzziana (in forma di note)[Buzzi’s Turandot (In the Shape of Notes)], 2011, Still from HD video. Courtesy the artist
Patrizio Di Massimo, Turandiade Buzziana (in forma di note)[Buzzi’s Turandot (In the Shape of Notes)], 2011, Still from HD video. Courtesy the artist
Joachim Koester, To navigate, in a genuine way, in the unknown necessitates an attitude of daring, but not one of recklessness (movements generated from the Magical Passes of Carlos Castaneda), 2009, Still from 16 mm film. Courtesy the artist and Nicolai Wallner Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark
Joachim Koester, To navigate, in a genuine way, in the unknown necessitates an attitude of daring, but not one of recklessness (movements generated from the Magical Passes of Carlos Castaneda), 2009, Still from 16 mm film. Courtesy the artist and Nicolai Wallner Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark
Danai Anesiadou, Damnesia Vu: Zum Besten Der Griechen, installation view, Kunsthalle Basel (2011) Photograph by Serge Hasenboehler. Courtesy the artist and Elisa Platteau and Cie Galerie
Danai Anesiadou, Damnesia Vu: Zum Besten Der Griechen, installation view, Kunsthalle Basel (2011) Photograph by Serge Hasenboehler. Courtesy the artist and Elisa Platteau and Cie Galerie
Amalia Pica, Final de Fiesta, (2005), colour photograph of paper garlands, installation view. Courtesy the artist, Gallery Diana Stigter, Amsterdam and Herald St, London
Amalia Pica, Final de Fiesta, (2005), colour photograph of paper garlands, installation view. Courtesy the artist, Gallery Diana Stigter, Amsterdam and Herald St, London

Myths and rituals can sustain social structures and lead to transformative experiences.

The latest exhibition at the Royal College of Art has brought together several works from international artists that explore these rituals and how they can be expressed through art.

The main challenge is that these rituals are likely to be alien to the viewer and therefore it’s difficult for these works to retain their potency once removed from their cultural homes. The artists have tried their best to convey a sense of being there with the use of mixed media but it often feels like you’re a stranger looking in on a process that you don’t fully understand.

The one standout piece is a rendition of Puccini’s Turandot played over a video of an Italian architectural folly, animated with a Chinese shadow puppet. The surreal nature of this work tied in with the artist’s commentary makes for an entertaining watch.

You may also feel that the gallery space has been under-utilised as there is sufficient space to feature more artworks whilst still giving each individual piece room to breathe.

Exploring other cultures through contemporary art is a lofty goal, but this exhibition seems to have fallen wide of the mark.

Ritual without Myth is on at the Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, SW7 2EU, until 25 March.

Last Updated 12 March 2012