The Horse Hospital – THANATOPOLIS
The mysterious project AutopsiA had its genesis in the alternative London culture of the late 1970s. At the start of the 1980s these London influences (Punk, early Industrial, radical conceptual art and more) were brought back to provincial Yugoslavia and blended with local cultural tendencies and histories, as well as other, unexpected sources such as post-structuralist philosophy and alchemy. Always remaining in the shadows, AutopsiA operated from an historic provincial town, sending out cryptic communications in the form of graphics, cassettes, and even early computer art. Over the years AutopsiA’s practice grew to include installation, performance and film work, all marked by its distinctive combination of technological and mystical sources. AutopsiA (in)famously and repeatedly announced that “20th Century is Dead” and the tragic and mythomaniacal quality of the work it produced in the late 1980s, bore witness to the death of modernity in Yugoslavia and its fall into pre-modern darkness.
Following the outbreak of war in Yugoslavia, AutopsiA relocated to Prague, where it has remained since, drawing fresh inspiration from the city’s rich esoteric histories. During the 1990s a series of complex and richly orchestrated music releases were issued, gaining great respect among those exposed to them. In recent years it has returned to the galleries and to live performances, appearing in Leipzig, Prague, Novi Sad, Belgrade and Split.
40 years after the outbreak of Punk, London is again at a moment of crisis, with many experiencing speculation-driven urban‘renewal’ as the inexorable transmission of a living cultural death. So it is fitting that 35 years after its birth, AutopsiA should bring its complex and thought-provoking work to London for the first time. Placed in the unique context of the Horse Hospital, its shadowy, spectral, multi-layered work will act as an admonitory memento mori and a cryptic illumination of the shadow side of the vain, death-marked metropolis.
Presented in association with Divus and the Czech Centre London, the exhibition will present films, an introductory lecture, music and graphics, including specially commissioned work in which AutopsiA brings its aesthetic to bear on London. A special exhibition publication featuring an essay by Alexei Monroe and Autopsia works will also be available.