Inservi Deo et Laetare
16 August 2008 -
11 September 2008
Titled after Jones’ old school motto, the exhibition Inservi Deo at Laetare (serve God & be cheerful) introduces the remarkable lives and philosophies of The Brotherhood of Saints (BHS), established in 1573 by Zadok Nathan Solomon Jones (following the infamous Battle of the Green Flower). The BHS became an established charity, working to intensely secretive and complex ideologies and regulations, practiced by the ten Saints of the Brotherhood.
The Ceri Hand Gallery plays host to the brothers’ awe inspiring 21 robes, each hand stitched to reflect the codes by which the Saints lived, their individual personalities and unorthodox beliefs:
“St. Sappho: famous for wearing comfortable shoes and driving carts. Had a slight allergy to men and a tattoo of Helen of Troy on her right buttock”.
These intricately decorated robes powerfully reveal the BHS’ bizarre belief systems and sexual practices, and the shadowy narratives of their concealed world.
Rock and roll flight case shrines and icons on wheels, with their underwear and loved up teddies entombed behind glass, enable the clan of Brothers to ‘pack & go’ on cheap last minute flights, to further the BHS’ global take on good and evil.
The green robe on display provide a tragic-comic insight into how some of the clan met their untimely ends, such as St Sophia, who died “from a collapsed book shelf in the library (also invented the binary code) and St Jason, who died mysteriously from an ‘‘Amyl Nitrate overdose, aged 50”.
Drawing on European ecclesiastical references and more recent shocking media imagery such as Mugabe’s rebels wreaking havoc in Toyotas, Jones creates disconcerting myths, referencing Hieronymus Bosch, Jusepe De Ribera and Yinka Shonibare.
Working on an impressive scale, but utilising domestic craft and consumable goods, Jones invites us to reflect on personal and collective desire in the context of mass consumerism and its global impact.
Challenging us to consider what happens when we push ourselves to the edge of reason, Jones’ tongue in cheek pop at how innocent belief systems can lead to power corrupt, provides a commanding encounter.