The title of this exhibition derives from the sign that hangs upon the door of the Magic Theatre, the fantastic cabaret that transforms the life of the eponymous hero in Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf. This absurdist theatre represents an escape from the oppressive mundanity of daily life, a liberation achieved by surrender to a spirit of experiment and play.
Bobby and Christopher have been friends for ten years, and their respective practices are imbued with a kindred spirit of adventure and experiment. While their works are easily distinguishable from each other in terms of their formal qualities, they are united by their commitment to openness and ambiguity in the process of their creation. The composition of these works is not guided by the fulfilment of a pre-established aim; they are completed only when they achieve what Christopher describes as an “arrived logic”.
Both of these artists are committed to the notion that artistic practice should extend into every aspect of daily experience, and each is heavily involved in cultural projects beyond the studio: Bobby’s foundation of an artist’s run space in Peckham ten years ago had a catalysing effect upon the area’s emerging artists and he continues to be involved in publishing projects; Christopher is a co-founder of the Library of Independent Exchange, a roving reference library and events space with a permanent collection of books made available to the public. These endeavours, like this exhibition and the magic theatre to which its title refers, are conceived as spaces for free, creative, communal action.