This book is the first major survey of the occult collection of artworks, letters, objects and ephemera in the Tate Archive. Revealing over 150 esoteric and mystical pieces some never before seen, giving a new understanding to the artists in the Tate collection and the history and practice of the occult.
This lavishly illustrated magical volume acts a potent talisman connecting the two worlds of Tate – the seen public collection and the unseen secrets lurking in the archive. The pages of this book explore the hidden artworks and ephemera left behind by artists ,and shed new light on our understanding of the art historical canon. It offers an in-depth exploration of the occult and its relationship to art and culture including witchcraft, alchemy, secret societies, folklore and pagan rituals, demonology, spells and magic, psychic energies, astrology and tarot.
Expect to find the unexpected in the works and lives of artists such as Ithell Colquhoun, Paul Nash, Barbara Hepworth, Cecil Collins, John William Waterhouse, Alan Davie, Joe Tilson, Henry Moore, Eileen Agar, William Blake, Leonora Carrington and Pamela Colman Smith.
For the first time, the clandestine, magical works of the Tate archive are revealed with archivist Victoria Jenkins exploring relationships between art and the occult, and how both can act as a form of resistance to challenging environments. This book challenges perceptions and illuminates the surprising breadth and extraordinary ways in which artists interpret not just the physical world around them but also the supernatural, to make the unseen, seen. If you think you know Tate artists, it’s time to think again.
Victoria Jenkins is a Warwickshire born, London based artist and author and is an archivist at Tate. Her work concerns the relationship between art, the occult and popular culture.
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