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Waterfront: Sex, Drugs and Magick photographic exhibition

PUBLISHED: 14:29 16 March 2014

International photographer Gareth McConnell, who has an exhibition of work at the UCS Waterfront Gallery until March 29, 2014   (colour version)

International photographer Gareth McConnell, who has an exhibition of work at the UCS Waterfront Gallery until March 29, 2014 (colour version)

Archant

Famous photographer Gareth McConnell exhibition at UCS

University Campus Suffolk is presenting a new exhibition by the internationally renowned photographer, Gareth McConnell. rs.

London-based McConnell, originally from Northern Ireland, has had a prolific career.

His Ipswich exhibition is inspired by the writer Robert Anton Wilson’s controversial 1987 book ‘Sex, Drugs and Magick’ which is considered a scholarly appraisal of both historical and modern use and misuse of drugs in conjunction with sex and occult practices.

Appropriating the title of Robert Anton Wilson’s counterculture classic, Gareth McConnell revisits and reworks his accumulated photographic archive in a low fidelity meditation on youth, hedonism and escape.

He takes as his starting point the heavily mythologised status of Ibiza as a key ingredient in the ‘second summer of love’ and of the acid house movement and ecstasy culture that followed.

This work considers the ancient and fundamental need to commune and overcome human separation and how that might potentially be realised in mass spiritual gatherings and orgiastic rituals of music, dancing and drug taking, whilst simultaneously acknowledging the exploitation of a culture once deemed so subversive that British law was changed in an attempt to outlaw and control it.

McConnell’s own book entitled ‘Sex, Drugs and Magick’ (book two) enables him to revisit photographs he took of young visitors in Ibiza. Ibiza has been known as an island which attracts young people who want to party and take drugs.

McConnell’s photographs are characterized by a more subtle understanding of his subjects than just the usual sex, drugs and sunny hedonism.

McConnel is a highly respected photographer, known for his great technical ability.

In his new book he has reworked many of his photographs as defiantly low- tech monochromes, with an exaggerated emphasis on reprographic redundancy and a pleasure in the failures of vintage reprographic techniques.

It’s as much, if not more, about photography and print themselves, as it is about its subjects.

‘Sex, Drugs and Magick’ is open at the UCS Waterfront Gallery in Ipswich until March 29, 2014.

For further information visit www.ucs.ac.uk/events

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