Illumini, a not-for-profit artists’ collective is definitely something you should know about. They have already delivered two spectacular, macabre shows in London before Beautiful Crime came across its latest.
Illumini, as the name suggests, promotes primarily artists who work with light, and ‘Dickensian Hauntings’, their last show ran from 27th September – 4th October in the basement of Shoreditch Town Hall and showcased some serious talent. Illumini founder Jane Webb is known for creating robots, and her robotic graveyard was delightfully creepy. She also exhibited a ‘haunted rocking chair’, inspired by the 1983 short story ‘The Woman in Black’, which I liked a lot. Then there was Wendy Allen’s ‘The Great Stink’, which illustrated the invention of London’s sewage system in a gorgeous installation that reminded me of a very tall lava lamp.
A favourite of mine was a light piece by Julia Bickerstaff entitled ‘Light Reading’, which consisted of a neon tubing curled around and through books, which satisfied both my literary geekery and love of aesthetics. The work represents the Victorian obsession with electricity, and is particularly relevant this year because of both Dickens’ bi-centenary and the 100th anniversary of neon.
I also recommend looking up Tanya Mehta, whose ‘The Mind’s I’ photographs were all taken in museums and castles; the locations add an authenticity to her unsettling images, which represent introspection and the unknown.
Webb’s intention when setting up Illumini was to provide free-of-charge events that brought people to art for the first time, and this certainly felt like a family-friendly show. All Illumini’s events open with an evening of performance art that visitors can engage with. We’ll definitely be attending the next one.
by Jennie Gillions