January 19th, 2017 marks the 208th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s birth. A literary critic, writer and poet, Poe is perhaps best remembered for his tales and poems of the macabre, although he is seen as the creator of detective fiction, and a leading figure of the Romantic movement in the United States.
Down through the decades, his work has been the inspiration for many in literature, art, radio, film and television. To mark his anniversary, DaphneArts Gallery curated by Angelika Corral and SheldonBR, is mounting a special exhibition entitled, appropriately enough, Edgar Allan Poe Tribute.
A mixed media event, the exhibition features images eight photographers: Edie Horngold, Kate Bergdorf, Mi, Nevereux, Noirran Marx, Jason (fitFanatic), Dr. Strangelove and Sunset Teas. These can be found in two halls of the DaphneArts Gallery 1 space, whilst accompanying them in the remaining two halls is an installation by Angelika and Sheldon. In the first of these rooms visitors can hear Angelika reciting A Dream Within A Dream and in the second stands a micro universe based on the story of the Fall of the house of Usher.
“Our main interest here is in the bizarre and surreal, and Poe has always been one of our favourites,” Sheldon told me, when I dropped in on him and Angelika as they were finalising set-up for the exhibition. “We have always wanted to do something inspired by his works, and decided that being part of the celebration of his 208th birthday would be a good chance to do it.”
“His dark, Gothic style is really inspiring,” Angelika added. “It seems our invited photographers like it as well, because their photos came out really strong.”
This is certainly true. Each of the images on display (some of which are seen in the top two images of this article) carries a resonance of Poe’s writing. Some of them do so directly, bearing clear motifs associated with his work, such as the presence of a raven. Others more subtle in their approach – such as with Berenice by Mi.
A Dream Within A Dream offers an immersive environment featuring visual elements and music, together with Angelika’s recital of the poem. In a dark room, dust motes swirl gently on an unfelt twist of air; gentle music and vocals slowly fill the space as Angelika reads this, one of Poe’s most famous poems, in which he laments our inability to prevent the passage of time and asking if can we really distinguish between reality and fantasy?
“Angelika and I have been working with this idea of 3D exhibitions,” Sheldon said, aftar we had listened to Angelika’s recital. “We like to explore all the possibilities that SL offers us, so we added our contribution to the exhibition in this way.”
It’s an approach that certainly works, the scripts geared to synchronize music and voice as the matching words appear floating in the darkness. What’s more, the poem is a fitting piece for this exhibition, staged as it is in the “unreal” world of bits, bytes, pixels and and packets. Alongside of of the recital space, the model of the House of Usher stands as tribute to another of Poe’s enduring works.
The official opening for Edgar Allan Poe Tribute will take place at 12:00 noon SLT on Thursday, January 19th. Thereafter, the exhibition will remain open for around two months.
- DaphneArts – Beautiful Bizarre (Rated Moderate)