Taking a Trip – LSD + the RA, via Hana Noorali

Tobias Collier supporters

Hana Noorali, co-curator of our fifth year anniversary celebrations, Should I Stay Or Should I Go, has recently been working with the artist Tobias Collier. CHELSEA space has followed Hana since she first arrived on our doorstep in 2005 and she never disappoints;  we hope Collier’s science inspired ‘pointillist’ drawings, light pieces, diagrams, and sculpture gets the attention they deserve.

John Dunbar and David Tremlett

Through Hana, CHELSEA space Director Donald Smith met up with artist David Tremlett and John Dunbar, artist and co-founder, with Barry Miles, of Indica Gallery. Indica, which opened in 1965, was the most cool and radical gallery of its day and is where John Dunbar famously introduced Yoko Ono to John Lennon. More recently Dunbar gave a seminar with Barry Miles and John Hopkins entitled ‘LSD and its Visual Impact’ at an international symposium in Basel and is featured in the documentary FLicKeR about Brion Gysin and the Dreamachine. Mark Titchner made a film of one of his own Dreamachines and plans of how to construct one in the exhibition Vertigo: Marcel Duchamp and Mark Titchner at CHELSEA space in 2007 (http://www.chelseaspace.org/archive/vertigo-pr.html)

David Tremlett is currently featured in the exhibition Modern British Sculpture curated by Penelope Curtis and Keith Wilson at the Royal Academy , an exhibition that is quickly becoming embroiled in a battle for a definition of what constitutes sculpture,  and controversial as much for what it has left out as for what it has included. Whilst talking about the show with David Tremlett, Donald Smith suddenly wished that Alison Wilding had been included at th RA because, along with Tremlett, Grenville Davey and Damien Hirst, her inclusion would have meant the grouping at the RA had inadvertently reunited the line up for the 1992 Turner Prize!

one of Willoughby Sharp's brilliant advertisements in Avalanche

Donald Smith and David Tremlett discussed Avalanche and its founders, publishers, and editors – Willoughby Sharp and Lisa Bear. Willoughby Sharp was a charismatic artist and his provocative advertisements hidden within the magazine such as the one illustrated  here seeking a like-minded partner to share an LSD trip, were a revelation of the Avalanche exhibition and a neat link back to John Dunbar’s seminar ‘LSD and it’s visual impact’ mentioned earlier. Sharp sadly died a couple of years ago, but his advertisements are carefully placed timebombs waiting to go off in the face of an unsuspecting future reader.

Bruce McLean checks out his work 'Genghis Khan' in the RA's Modern British Sculpture catalogue during a recent flying visit to CHELSEA space

In their search for a new art, David Tremlett, Willoughby Sharp, and Bruce McLean had an experimental meeting down by Barnes Pond in the early 1970’s, McLean has not been featured in the current Royal Academy sculpture show, but documentation of his performance/sculpture work Genghis Khan has been featured in the catalgue. Bruce described this work as ‘doing an impersonation’ of Phillip King’s seminal 1963 sculpture of the same name.

Bruce McLean's 1960's performance/sculpture 'Genghis Khan' (wrongly captioned '1979') from the catalogue of the Royal Academy's 'Modern British Sculpture'