Carl Kostyál – Harrison Pearce: Host

4 February - 3 March, 2022
Harrison Pearce, Siphon, 2021, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 78.7 × 70.9 in (200 × 180 cm); (right) Emergence, 2021, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 23.6 × 19.7 in (60 × 50 cm), © The Artist, Image courtesy of Carl Kostyál, London

For his debut show ‘HOST’ at Carl Kostyál, London-based artist Harrison Pearce (b. 1986) has made a series of new black and white paintings and a mobile sculpture.

The exhibition takes its title from composer Thomas Stone’s earlier work of the same name, made in response to his horror at how parasitic bacteria can affect the behaviour of their host and how that same process can occur with parasitic ideas which inveigle their way into the host’s mind and from there, spread.

The works in this exhibition were born of the artist’s formerly unwavering belief in empirical knowledge (he holds a Masters in analytic philosophy) and, for him, its greatest test: at the age of 28, a series of brain scans revealed an anomaly in the morphology of his brain. Asymptomatic, he had no way to assimilate the idea that his body was playing host to a potentially fatal malfunction. He determined to face this new reality by forensically examining the mechanics of empirical logic in which he is so well-versed. The question of mind-body dualism was never so prescient. Cogito, ergo sum. How was his mind (an immaterial substance engaged in rational thought, imagining, feeling, sensation) separated from his brain (a physical mechanism), if at all, and who or what was the ‘I’ he was so determined to save. It transpired later that while the anomaly was real, the diagnosis was flawed.

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