Guerrillas in the East: James Elphick

James Elphick is Artistic Director and Curator of Guerrilla Zoo: a constantly rotating collective of artists, musicians & performers. He’s also the curator of Modern Panic III – ‘A unique and powerful collection of over 60 surreal, controversial & provocative international artists.’ The show will be open from 24th November – 2nd Dec. Josh Jones had a chat with the breathless curator as he put the finishing touches to it at the 11th hour.

Hey James, how are things with you right now? Busy bee?
You have caught me just as I’m about to go into the gallery and set up the exhibition! I’ve learnt to surf the waves of panic and we are rapidly approaching the launch night’s sea of chaos.

Can you tell us more about Modern Panic III?
Modern Panic showcases the work of surreal, controversial & provocative international artists. It is inspired by the Panic Movement formed in early 1960′s by artists Alejandro Jodorowsky, Fernando Arrabal & Roland Topor. The group concentrated on chaotic happenings containing performance art and surreal imagery designed to be shocking, as a response to surrealism becoming petite bourgeoisie and to release destructive energies in search of peace and beauty. Modern Panic is an evolution of this concept and the exhibition shows the new wave of modern artists in these strange times and aims to provoke a little reaction in the usually passive viewers.

Do you enjoy curating shows? What’s your favourite bit?
Guerrilla Zoo has been creating events, exhibitions, theatre, parties and other happenings for many years now. It’s great to produce a variety of entertaining and also challenging shows, to work with establish artists you respect and also to provide an opportunity for new comers to share the same platform.

There are over 60 artist/performers in Modern Panic III – do you have an enormous spreadsheet as big as your bed with everything that’s happening? In fact, maybe there should be be an Excel duvet cover for precisely this kind of thing.
Actually, you need to be a little bit mad and a little bit creative to juggle these kinds of shows. I keep the majority of everything in my mind’s eye so i know I have most corners covered. No need for an excel duvet.

What’s next for you and Guerrilla Zoo?
We will be launching a festival next year, part of The Annual Goblin King’s Masquerade Ball – Everything will be announced very soon!
Any artists interested in getting involved in a future exhibition please sign up to our mailing list or facebook page for announcements.

Photo: Tom Medwell

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As interesting as watching ice melt