'Books recommend that you mark your entry into magic by taking up one of the arts of divination: tarot, crystals, runes or stars. He tried each of these practises, but they didn’t stick. His entry into magic was marked by a butt massage in Alberta.' – Queer Spirits by AA Bronson & Peter Hobbs
Lubricants & Literature is the first solo exhibition of represented artist Richard Healy at Tenderpixel. Including a series of new sculptures and a video installation accompanied by a limited edition publication, the show explores a moment of true magic in the tension between stasis and transformation.
The exhibition refers to a peculiar anecdote in the history of Cecil Court in London, in which the famous occultist and writer Aleister Crowley performed an incantation in Watkins Books, opposite where Tenderpixel now stands. In this private performance for John Watkins in 1929, Crowley made all the books in the store disappear, whilst simultaneously making them reappear. Side stepping whether to consider this tale a joke, a bravura performance or pure trickery, the exhibition instead focuses on the moment before the books reappear — an instant that is both mutable and static. Spread throughout both floors of the gallery, the numerous, and almost contrasting physical elements revisit the tale in different ways.
Combining literature and design, twirls and twists of metal rods hold open a number of publications collected from the surrounding bookshops of Cecil Court. Suspended in mid-air, the sculptures play act with the notions of Crowley's incantation, whilst also performing as book stands. Healy’s work and displays often revolve around a video piece, which tells fragmented yet intriguing stories of unusual characters through the materialisation of incredible and visually speculative places. In the exhibition Lubricants & Literature, the video piece expands the original ideas and references embodied by the sculptures displayed on the ground floor. The entirely digitally rendered video simultaneously exploits and unravels the presence of the books, augmenting their contents to create a hyper narrative.Taking the form of a memory palace, the video shows a succession of interconnected architectural spaces, whilst following the path of a fictional narrator – half architect, half shaman – who explores his self-erected environment through a series of sexual encounters.