Wednesday, February 15, 2017

wild ones at the wellcome collection

There are periodic rituals in Europe where men (and very lately, women) put on costumes of animal skin and straps covered in ringing, clanking bells, and cross into a space between rational and primal, civilisation and instinct.

Wellcome Collection Friday Late Spectacular: Wild Ones

Photographer Charles Fréger traveled through Europe photographing the performers of these rituals for his book Wilder Mann: The Image of the Savage.

Photo courtesy of the Wellcome Shop Twitter

In this case the word 'savage' was not used in its original derogatory context but to mean a creature halfway between light and dark, death and rebirth, man and beast.

The Wild Ones capture the still practiced pagan rituals of Europe. Embodying the confrontation of our fear of things that lurk in the dark. Recalling the shadows cast onto cave walls that first drew us out in the open and into the light.

On the first Friday of February the Wellcome Collection hosted the Wild Ones Spectacular, by a wandering troupe of storytellers and performers called the Crick Crack Club.

The Wild Ones entered the building through the bookshop, tall figures in shaggy skins and bare feet wandering among the shelves and stacks.

Leather strips hung with heavy bells clanged and tinkled as they walked slowly among visitors, who scrambled for their phones or stared at the apparitions.

The performers freely confronted the bemused visitors, especially the Trickster (horned brown figure in the middle background) who unlike the rest of his solemn group in heavy furs, ran and capered around the building to cause maximum confusion, waggling his pointy nose and laughing.

Another group of performers, the all-female Haus of Sequana, also danced and sang their way riotously through the building, performing chants and processions in their wild beaded gear.

My favourite event was live drawing in the Reading Room, with a female model dressed as Eve and a male model in a beautiful Minotaur mask. No pictures allowed, but we didn't do too badly with the sketches!

Altogether it was a great event and people seemed to enjoy taking a break from being buttoned up in the stiff winter weather, and taking a walk on the wild side.

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