Austin Spare in Glasgow

Austin Spare

Self-portrait by Austin Osman Spare (1907).

A late discovery but worth a mention, an Austin Spare exhibition that’s been running in Glasgow this month. From the press release:

An exhibition of 13 prints from this great artist and Occultist will run until 29th September 2007 at Mono, King’s Court, King Street Glasgow.

We have a diverse array of his styles to exhibit, and some of these have never been exhibited publicly before. We begin in 1921 with “The Magic Circle”, through his renowned “Ugly Ecstasy” drawings of 1924 (3 drawings & Grotesque), a demonic watercolour featuring a three headed demon?one of whose heads is Cthulhu, a postcard with drawing of his friend the bohemian writer Oswell Blakeston as Satyr and message about his art show on the reverse, “Self Portrait as Satyr” significantly signed ZOSAOS, a sidereal pastel entitled “Dire Awakening”, a watercolour which depicts a kind of celestial phallus endowing the receiver with “ecstasy” and a lambent woman, “Punch and Judy”, “The Return” and ending with “The Death Mask of Voltaire”—painted two years before the artist’s death, and being a meditation on death itself.

As our opening night of the exhibition show was so popular and created so much interest, we are thinking of having an end-of-exhibition get together to discuss Zos and the effect it’s had on people, so if Zos has inspired you, let me know or leave a message on our MySpace at and we’ll let you where and when.

We have produced a catalogue to mark this unique occasion in Scottish occulture and to honour the memory of AOS/ZOS. The catalogue is a folio containing a three page essay on Zos, specially written for us and kindly donated by Michael Staley. The 13 artworks from our exhibition have been expertly reproduced, and photographic quality prints made. These are all included in the catalogue, we also have a range of t-shirts, a set of 13 postcards of the prints from the exhibition and individual full scale prints for sale which are truly stunning.

Via Midian Books.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Man We Want to Hang by Kenneth Anger
The art of Andrey Avinoff, 1884–1949
The art of Cameron, 1922–1995
Austin Osman Spare

6 thoughts on “Austin Spare in Glasgow”

  1. I saw a similar small exhibition of his drawings at the Atlantis Bookshop in London last year. His pencil drawings are really worth seeing since he was such an accomplished draughtsman. A shame his reputation still seems to be the sole preserve of occultists, something I complained about in an earlier post. The art world has never known what to make of Spare.

  2. On a more superficial note, he was gorgeous as a young man. When he got older, not so much.

    A lot of his writing seems so obscure and esoteric that only he could possibly understand it!

  3. Yes his books are rather inaccessible but then magical systems are an internal map so Spare’s system was pretty much a map for him alone.

    From what I can gather, his youthful looks helped him have sex with a huge amount of women! He also seemed to have a thing for hermaphrodites as well, made drawings of ones he met as well as imaginary hybrids.

  4. “A shame his reputation still seems to be the sole preserve of occultists”, Interestingly enough Spare’s work has penetrated the culture in a way that would probably suprise him – as the logo for the anarcho punk/ crust band ‘Amebix’.

    See long discussion about how this came about here: (towards the end of the thread). Interestingly they also used Kupka’s ‘Resistance/ The Black idol’ for one of their single covers.

    Shame there isn’t more of Kupka’s illustrations around ‘Conquerer Worm’ is great.

  5. Sorry to bang on about Amebix, but my friend Raye says “They sound like Hawkwind if they’d chucked out Dave Brock and kept Lemmy”. I’m not sure about that exactly, but you might find it interesting I would have said more Killing Joke myself.

    Anyway, here’s some youtube stuff.

    The first one is quite short but illustrates their use of Spare’s work:

    The second is them blasting through “Winter” one of their best songs:

    If you don’t like this, you won’t like anything else they did.

Comments are closed.

Discover more from { feuilleton }

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading