Greetings from the other side of the longest January ever. We here at Haute Macabre are forever swooning over the hushed and haunting needlework of Adipocere. And, while I can’t say that I’m no longer in a funk now that EndlessJanuary is over, my spirits brightened considerably when I learned that our favorite Melbourne-based embroidery artist is about to open a new show.
Entitled Only you exist, this new exhibit is both the continuation and conclusion of a series begun with Adipocere’s first solo show, I do not exist, at Beinart Gallery in 2018. Both shows explore concepts of identity, with I do not exist depicting allegorical studies of abnegation.
From Beinart Gallery:
“This new body of work explores further the issues around identity, focusing on the lack of self prioritising over other things: a more romantic/existential selflessness, or something akin to how martyrs might adhere to beliefs to their own physical/personal neglect.”
These pieces are every bit as exquisite in appearance as they are in spirit. To me, these sacred psychopomps and shadow selves, personifications and protectors, hiders and seekers, ecstatics and kindred spirits, seem born as much of psyche and marrow as needle and thread. They exist in a liminal space that is at once sacred and profane, where it is always day and always night, where there is always an uncanny breeze and a sense of profound stillness, where the hands have vanished from all the clocks, where it forever feels like you’re just about to sob and sigh at the same time.
The last time I wrote about Adipocere’s work, I was not-so-subtly sulking over missing out on claiming on of their pieces for myself. The same is true of this new show. But while I may not be able to call a particular piece my own, I do have a little story about it to share.
When I singled out “The Spider of Saint-Eustache” for them as a personal favorite, Adipocere shared with me that it was inspired by an extraordinary story, “The King for the Spiders,” from a 19th century magazine, The Atheneum; or, Spirit of the English Magazines, vol. 9, 1828:
Whether it’s true or not, I love this story, which was also briefly referenced in Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula:
“Can you tell me why, when other spiders die small and soon, that one great spider lived for centuries in the tower of the old Spanish church and grew and grew, till, on descending, he could drink the oil of all the church lamps?”
If anyone in our readership has been to the Natural History Museum Vienna, where this legendarily large and thirsty arachnid is supposedly kept, I would love to know if it’s on display.
Only you exist opens at Melbourne’s Beinart Gallery with a reception on February 8th and runs through March 1st. Whether or not you can make it over there in person, all of Adipocere’s new pieces are now viewable on the Beinart Gallery website. If you’re lucky, a few of them might still be available to purchase.