The Crypt Gallery
30 June — 3 July 2023

To affirm is not to bear, carry, or harness oneself to that which exists, but on the contrary to unburden, unharness, and set free that which lives.
— Gilles Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy

What is our relation towards the future if the present is obscure, thus diminishin the possibilities for alternative realities or existence? In this instance, we turn ourselves to the concept of fictioning, as formulated by David Burrows and Simo O'Sullivan in their book by a similar title. Defined as a practice of 'writing, imaging, performing or other material instantiation of worlds or social bodies that mark out trajectories different to those engendered by the dominant organisations of life currently in existence', fictioning thereby strives to avoid becoming a mer simulation, parody, or simulacra — a problem addressed since Plato's writings regarding the deceptive nature of art.

The book, performing its own practice of fictioning, defines and maps out thre myth-functions — mythopoesis, myth-science and mythotechnesis — that, although presented separately, all deeply entangled with each other. This results in the fact that different art practices may carry out more than one of these myth-functions. 'Beyond' takes as a point of departure the two latter concepts of myth-science and mythotechnesis and thus aims to explore what fictioning as a tool can offer us if we specifically address the problematics of non-European and diasporic cultures, the division between nature and culture, and future human-machine relations and assemblages.

The context of the Crypt Gallery, where 'Beyond' takes place, helps us to unpack the initial concept further in a spatio-temporal sense. The space, which opened in 1822 as a part of St Pancras Parish Church, has a rich and complex history, having changed its purpose many times. It became a final resting place for more than five hundred people over the course of the first 30 years of its existence, in both Worl Wars it was used as an air raid shelter, and in 2002 it was finally reopened as permanent gallery space. As a place in which different space-time relations wer manifested throughout its existence, the Crypt acts as a fitting environment to meditate on the possible synchronous nature of time. Taking as a premise the idea of a non-linearity of time, with the past and future equally not fixed or determinate, we aim to explore the potential encounters that might happen between them - the thing enabled by the very idea of fictioning.

Emerging from these points of contact the exhibition aims to explore fictionin from two main points of view: how it can serve as a resource against the existin frameworks of the present and take a critical power in analysing them. While the artists in the project employ fictioning in different ways — as only a small patch of fictionalised presents or pasts or by creating complete alternative realities — wha brings them together is the belief in its transformative power. By imagining possibilities yet to come we make a first step towards building a future tha embodies our deepest aspirations for a newer, more unconventional, and infinite world.

Features Artworks by:
Julie Maurin,  Samuel Barbier-Ficat, Polina Osipova,Yiwen Li, Malu Laet, Sofia Bordin, Maria Joranko,Frederika Dalwoo, Jiemin Ren, Maximilian Prag, Jiayi Li, Chen Di, Deng Lina, Chika Annen, Ajla Yi, Chaney Diao, Bo Sun, Estefania B. Flores

Curated by:
Jennifer Sun, Yiwen Li, Anastasia Chugunova, Charlotte Yuan

Installation view