Battle Cat, Adam Hogarth

20 Jul-4 Aug 2024
PV 19 Jul 2024, 6-9pm

Thames-Side Studios Gallery
Royal Borough of Greenwich, London SE18 5NR


Battle Cat is a new collection of drawings and prints that explore post-nuclear legacies, destructivism, folklore and storytelling by artist Adam Hogarth.

“We all desire the future to turn out more happily than I have figured it. In particular we desire our present civilization to advance steadily toward some kind of Utopia. The thought that it may decay and collapse, and that all its spiritual treasure may be lost irrevocably, is repugnant to us. Yet this must be faced as at least a possibility.” Olaf Stapledon, 'Last and First Men'.

There was a disaster! A house of cards teetering on oblivion finally toppled. Under their own top-heavy weight, political and bureaucratic structural systems of yesteryear finally collapsed. A series of nuclear wars ensued, followed by a complete ecological and environmental disintegration. Crops collapsed and as nuclear reactors failed one by one, huge swathes of land, and oceans became contaminated and uninhabitable. Inevitably, the excess of nuclear meltdown finally permeated the entire earth.

“No more Internet. No more social media, no more scrolling through litanies of dreams and nervous hopes and photographs of lunches, cries for help and expressions of contentment and relationship-status updates with heart icons whole or broken, plans to meet up later, pleas, complaints, desires, pictures of babies dressed as bears or peppers for Halloween.” Emily St. John Mandel, 'Station Eleven'.

A perfectly circular zone drawn on a map, charting no-go radioactive areas, marks out the abandoned ghost cities of Chernobyl, Pripyat, Fukushima and now Dungeness. At their bullseye, raging boils of nuclear matter, volatile and angry. Man-made volcanoes lying dormant, ready to silently spew caesium and iodine onto its once energy-dependent surroundings. These places offer a glimpse into the collapse of the developed world. Desolate areas, devoid of human activity, slowly being reclaimed by nature. Forget visions of flying cars, killer robots and self-aware artificial intelligence. The dystopia we gift to the future is in fact a green, overgrown, luscious Greentopia… albeit highly poisonous and inhospitable.

The artwork exhibited in Battle Cat is an anthropological study of a fictitious community that hangs onto life 900 years after a global mass extinction. Set at Jarman’s Point (formally the coastline connecting Folkestone to Dungeness), to a backdrop of cataclysmic sea-level rises and a mass extinction of most animals, humanity has regressed to a new dark age. Within the work, Hogarth intertwines his own personal experiences with new religious movements that echo a naïve vision of the past, distorted by the disaster. These common tales of war, peace, death and love are tales than span aeons, from our collective past to our defunct future.

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