Become an archaeologist at interactive exhibition at James Freeman Gallery
Treasures from the Rhoman Rodeo - Joshua Goode at James Freeman Gallery
27 June to 7 July 2018
In a nod to Islington’s both real and mythical past, American artist Goode will create a lost world at James Freeman Gallery of archaelogical artifacts and items “discovered” in the London borough.
Goode discovered that in Medieval times Islington and North London were considered to be an unknown wilderness where mythical beasts roamed freely, the notion romanticised through the telling of fairytales and folklore. There have also been various claims of findings dating back to Roman times around Islington, two tombstones thought to be from the Roman period were later debunked.
Live interactive excavating will take place every day from 12-1pm, and during this time visitors will be encouraged to help Goode sift through artefacts excavated from the depths of the gallery dating back to the imagined ancient Aurora-Rhoman civilisation. Guests of all ages are encouraged to join in the research by handling not so ancient artifacts in the gallery, “identifying” them and then adding their newly discovered treasures to the exhibition.
Goode imagines that prehistoric evidence may be found within the gallery, including the remains of paleolithic animals known to have lived there, and recreational events, like a rodeo, occurring as a result of so many strange beasts gathered together, such as mammoths, woolly rhinos, and huge hippos.
The artist will be leading the on-going excavation and is displaying many of the artifacts found at the Islington Site to the public for the first time alongside the dig at James Freeman Gallery. These include the carved mammoth tusk, suits of armour, golden chimerical sculptures, and paintings that possess attributes of objects found in the Medieval Period of London and late 20th century American pop culture.
Goode says: “The pharaohs and kings of the past endeavoured to be remembered through their grand monuments, I also aim to create a lasting legacy through my work. I believe my work walks the fine line between complete absurdity and seriousness, people always question if they should laugh. I absolutely believe they should..”
The exhibition will also reference the lengthy history of the area being a last stop on cattle drives headed to Smithfield Market, and the later creation of the cattle market in Islington.
Gallerist James Freeman says “I’m fascinated by Joshua’s inspiration from Islington’s history. For instance, his reference to Islington’s cattle driving history is spot on. On the other side of the street from the gallery the pavement is raised up several steps precisely because so much livestock used to be driven through over the centuries that there had to be somewhere raised to walk away from the muck. His work also highlights the meeting of past and present..”
In December 2016, as a result of the explosion of one Thames Water’s principal trunk pipes, Islington and Upper Street were severely flooded. James Freeman Gallery was on the frontline of the burst, and was submerged by the water. But in the remedial works that followed, construction workers excavating the basement of James Freeman Gallery found a beautifully preserved carved mammoth tusk. Initial tests showed that this tusk had been carved 7,000yrs ago during the mythic Aurora-Rhoman Period of London. An exploratory archaeological excavation conducted by Joshua Goode uncovered ruins of a great Aurora-Rhoman Amphitheater hidden underneath the building. Evidence shows that a fantastical rodeo was held there with beasts from the Pleistocene Era such as woolly mammoths, wooly rhinos, caballoid horses, three-headed dogs and sabre tooth cats. Islington is the first site in Great Britain where evidence of the Texas centered Aurora-Rhome Civilization has been found. Findings there break the ice in archaeological studies on the Aurora-Rhoman Age in London and for the first time confirm the presence of the fabled empire in Great Britain.
Goode has been creating these fabled, yet tongue in cheek works since 2012.
James Freeman Gallery, 354 Upper Street, Islington London N1 0PD
Closest tube station: Angel
The exhibition is free to attend and all ages are welcome.
Opening reception on Wednesday 27 June 6.30-8.30pm. To attend please RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information please contact Damson PR, Phoebe Ruffels via email@example.com 020 7812 0645
Notes to Editors
About the artist
Joshua Goode reimagines iconic imagery from his youth as ancient artefacts from the Aurora-Rhoman civilisation, a fake culture based on the two small towns (Aurora and Rhome) nearest to the ranch he grew up on in Texas. The constructed artefacts of his own invention mix fact and fiction to appropriate and distort the history and myths of the region. Using humour, he delves into weighty subjects such as death and the fallacies present in our society. Each body of work is location specific with the artist building a narrative around the history of the location.
Born in 1981, 7thgeneration Texan Joshua Goode received his MFA from Boston University and has participated in residencies in Russia, Germany, Finland, Spain and worked as a researcher on archaeological digs for the University of Tubingen at Vogelherd Cave in Germany. He received the Dozier Award from the Dallas Museum of Art and is represented by Ro2 Art, Dallas; and Ivy Brown Gallery, NYC.He now conducts staged excavations around the world, working with the community as a performance.
About the gallery
Established in 2003, the James Freeman Gallery focuses on contemporary classicism, presenting artists who combine current tendencies with art-historical references and exploration. The gallery has exhibited widely at both national and global level, including fairs and gallery collaborations in the USA, Europe and Asia and organises off-site shows both in the UK and abroad as a platform for artists' work.