There’s art that tells a story – then there are artists who ask their audience to tell it for them. In the pairing of Manchester-based painter Lindsey Bull and London-based collective Plastique Fantastique for this new exhibition at Castlefield Gallery, there are two different approaches to ‘fictioning’, or the creation of fictions. Linsey Bull’s paintings are filled with figures that are strange and unexplained; drawn from witchcraft journals, fashion magazines and books on rituals and religion, their stories are left for the audience to unravel. Plastique Fantastique, on the other hand, are in the business of myth-making: the fictions they create through texts, shrines, assemblages and performance are given out as alternatives to the tales of the mainstream.
For the launch of the exhibition, Plastique Fantastique will be invoking a historic figure of alternative versions through a special performance. There will be a séance, of sorts, for the figure of The Hanged Man from the Tarot deck, an image that originates from caricatures created to shame traitors in Renaissance Italy, and is symbolic here of the revolutionary ‘traitors’ of our time – the whistle-blowers who tell a different tale to the one we’re used to hearing. The Hanged Man himself is curiously serene, despite being hung upside down by one leg – so too do Bull’s paintings seem to conceal troubling narratives. This is, then, an exhibition that not only passes the story between the art and the audience, but has the works whispering amongst themselves.