James Putnam
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'The Butterfly Pinned' - Sebastian Horsley, January/February 2003. The Lead White Gallery, Dublin.

An exhibition of works, performance, paintings, photoworks and editions by London based artist Sebastian Horsley which centred around his video work "Crucifixion", shot by Sarah Lucas. Since 1961 a Crucifixion ritual has been enacted during Holy Week in the Philippines to encourage miracles. Horsley was drawn to experience this painful ordeal and travelled there to be crucified in 2000. He went on to create this body of work which despite its confrontational nature relates to the painterly tradition of depicting the subject. Horsley≠s work explores the duality inherent in his personality - the image he projects as an elegantly attired dandy juxtaposed with the naked vulnerability of a man facing crucifixion. The vibrant colour of his sartorial grandeur contrasts with the pallid skin tones of his haunting crucifixion images. Horsley equates the butterfly with the persona of the dandy, an exotic, unsettled, colourful, transient creature that starts as a grub, then flies in glory. Pinned like an insect, between two opposing realities, the absolute tension of this duality between the sacred and the profane, the earthly and divine, is also a comment on our human condition.

In 2002, Horsley was nominated for the Beck‚s Futures Award and the Alternative Turner Prize and exhibited at the Liverpool Biennial. He has been described as a gothic Quentin Crisp; a sexually ambiguous, punk dandy who writes the provocative Sewer Life column for the Erotic Review.

"Horsley like all dandies, views his act of self creation as far more honest than the allegedly 'authentic personalities' of those who would to their own selves be true.......not, perhaps, what you would associate with a atheistical dandy, but Horsley has produced some profoundly religious art." - Will Self

"Sebastian is an atheist, but the first I've ever met whose spiritual tradition doesn't just come from a lack of imagination. His attempts to become other than he is, are epic." - Nick Cave

"The crucifixion was pure sex and I totally lost my legs on that one" - Sarah Lucas

"The film has brought tears to my eyes each time I have seen it. The image taps into some instinctive human response to the wounded, the bleeding and the broken. The video version of the great depositions of Caravaggio or Rembrandt." - Rachel Campbell Johnston, The Times.

"An attempt to reinvest art with beauty, urgency and power" - Brian Appleyard, The Sunday Times.

"Horsley is in the great romantic tradition forged by wayward hero's such as Rimbaud. Truly moving." - The Standard.

"The most literal exercise of artistic suffering since Van Gogh cut off his ear. Heroically Stylish" - The Telegraph

Sunflowers photowork
Crucifixion photowork
Crucifixion photowork
Crucifixion photowork

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