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.