Sarah Sparkes
never afraid - ever afraid

Curated by Peter Suchin

Vic Browne, Mik Godley (with Graham Lester George), Matt Hale, Lee Holden, Lizzie Hughes, Liane Lang, Stephen Lee, Pat Naldi, Sarah Sparkes, Jo Stockham

Thursday, 1st November - Saturday, 1st December, 2007
Private View: Wednesday, 31st October, 6 - 10pm

This exhibition takes its name from the curious device known as a planchette or “talking-board”, a small heart-shaped structure mounted on wheels, beneath which projects a pencil or other instrument for drawing or writing. Placed upon a sheet of paper and propelled, apparently, by supernatural forces, the activated planchette traces images, scribbles inconclusively or perhaps inscribes a coherent series of words, to which the operator, whose finger rests lightly upon the board, responds. A dialogue thus ensues between the communicating spirit “speaking” through the medium of the operator, and the operator himself.

In employing the planchette as a metaphor for artistic practice a complicated, indeed contradictory structure of exchange is encouraged and implied. Such analogies do not, however, rely on an acceptance of the planchette’s original purpose or necessitate an acceptance of the “spirit world” as conventionally defined.

Each of the artists in the exhibition has responded to the essay “Engaging Textual Spectres” by Peter Suchin (Miser & Now, No, 7, 2005)­, a discussion of Harry Price’s The End of Borley Rectory (Harrap, 1946), in which Price documents his researches into what has been described as ““the most haunted house in England”” (p. 15). As a consequence of publishing this essay Suchin was invited to take part in Spectre vs. Rector, curated by Marc Vaulbert de Chantilly. Suchin chose to insert into this large group show a second, smaller exhibition, in effect carrying out an act of spectral or demonic possession upon the host project, as Vaulbert de Chantilly has himself wryly observed.

Staged within a portable, self-contained display mechanism or “Pagivolt”, on loan from the Jeffrey Charles Henry Peacock Gallery, Planchette is simultaneously reliant upon, and independent of the exhibition in which it resides. The artists’ contributions of ten individual works presented within the Pagivolt are supplemented by an equal number of curatorial insertions, the whole emphasising complexity, ambiguity and intertextuality, as well as a critical engagement with the spontaneous, the hidden and the repressed.

Venue: The Residence, The Verger’s Cottage, Eastway, London, E9 5JA.
Telephone: 0208 986 2324; website:
Opening hours: Wednesday - Sunday, 1-5pm

Exhibition information:

Planchette is presented under the rubric Black Box.