Arts and Culture

SALA: Julia Robinson bursts the seams of folk horror with cutting aesthetic

Posted on: Sat 20 Aug 2022

Over the years, Julia Robinson’s art practice has delved into the various threads of folklore (which she says is “part of the fabric of her existence”).

Folklore, as Robinson aptly puts it, is teetering on the “knife edge between life and death, and darkness and light” while folk horror “excavates the darkness and . . . plays with it”.

Robinson’s SALA show The Beckoning Blade, which she calls “a love letter to folk horror”, investigates the genre’s eerie allure. Through intricate sewing and intriguing design, the works displace objects and forms that evoke the ideal of the countryside while also immersing the viewer in a slightly uneasy celebration of sorts.

The show is a captivating tribute to Robin Hardy’s 1973 film The Wicker Man, which, in Robinson’s words, is a “subtle, weird kind of horror” and “like no other horror you’ve ever experienced”.

Robinson speaks to Arts Breakfast about the fascinating histories of folk horror (and her own startling connections to the folk tradition), the genre’s intersections with contemporary culture, and clothing and fabric as a medium. She also leaves us with some leads for those wanting to dip their toes into the inky pool of folk horror, and for those wondering what SALA show to check out next.

The Beckoning Blade is showing at Hugo Michell Gallery until 4pm Saturday, August 20 and can also be viewed on the gallery’s website.

Arts Breakfast

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