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Ross McNicol at Play

October 5, 2009 by Ellie

As part of Prakke Contemporary's latest collaboration with Paradise Row which we wrote about hereRoss McNicol has let us in on the piece he is exhibiting as of later this week. For more information about opening times and how to arrange a viewing, click here.

If I Were a Horse, 12cm x 12cm, C-type digital archival printIf I Were a Horse, 12cm x 12cm, C-type digital archival print

If I Were a Horse is the title piece of a long-term photographic project. For this ongoing series, McNicol has photographed elements from non-religious customs and rituals throughout the UK. The work is not documentary in style nor in its function. McNicol’s work approaches the irrational and anachronistic aspects of superstition and group ritual which contrast with the beauty and primitive solace to be found within these habits of contemporary rural British communities.

The title, If I Were a Horse, is designed not only to connect a childish mode of imaginative thinking with the formalised adult dressing-up in the image and in many other works from the series, but is also the name given by anthropologist Evans-Pritchard to a type of intellectualist reasoning for the origins of religion, sometimes involving anthropomorphism, which he deemed flawed. The photograph depicts the main protagonist of a surviving annual custom in Castleton, Derbyshire known as the Garland Man.