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The Deepest Darkness: was the first major solo show by Robin Mason for over a decade. Held in 2013 at Block 336 London, it featured an extensive body of new work that marked a significant point in his career.
Descending the narrow staircase into the cavernous depths of Block 336 we are greeted by the bittersweet sound of pinball machines, and begin to question whether The Deepest Darkness will be anything remotely like what its gloomy title suggests. And this is just for starters, for as the exhibition unfolds around us, it becomes glaringly obvious that these melodies of teenage pastimes are but the soundtrack for a visual and emotional experience of funfair proportions. Prints, etchings, and vast mind-boggling polyptych paintings jostle up against astroturf lawns, dazzling lights and curiously disorientating mini-museums. Our first impressions are that there is no darkness here to speak of. Before long however, the shadows start to creep in.
The Deepest Darkness explores a number of themes that have remained central to Mason’s practice for a period of more than ten years. At the heart of these lies an obsession with Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece, c.1515 and much of the work on show here bears the scars of a deep engagement with the intensity of suffering that this singular creation epitomizes.
Sublimating both the Isenheim Altarpiece and a number of other key works from art’s dark history into ecstatic and pressingly contemporary resolutions, Mason’s surreal and quirky transcriptions entangle us in the sticky threads of a tender past and a visionary pursuit for its renewal and redemption.