Not Without My Ghosts: The Artist As Medium

Georgiana HoughtonThe Spiritual Crown of Annie Mary Howitt WattsCourtesy georgianahoughton.com



Drawing Room and Hayward Gallery Touring presents ​Not Without My Ghosts: The Artist As Medium,​ a major exhibition of artists and works inspired by mediumistic methodologies and their deep cultural history.

‘An exploration of the otherworldly in art… fascinating’ – The i

‘The show’s roster includes historical heavyweights and forgotten pioneers’ – Apollo

‘Revelatory’ – RA Magazine

‘Radical’ – Financial Times

Bringing together 26 international artists from the 19th century to the present day, it explores the changing historical and aesthetic terms of artistic engagement with mediumship, from perceived spiritual inspiration and creation during séances and trances, to practices of automatism, channelling, and paranormal investigation, whilst also considering clairvoyant practices in relation to the history of feminism.

The exhibition takes as its starting point the visionary work of William Blake and the largely forgotten Victorian spirit artists Georgiana Houghton, Anna Mary Howitt and Barbara Honywood, whose work based on experiences and communication with the world of the spirits was strikingly at odds with prevailing traditions of artistic expression. The exhibition progresses onto Surrealist experiments with automatism, and moves through the 20th Century where work by artists Austin Osman Spare, Ithell Colquhoun and Cameron draws on techniques of automatism combined with an interest in ritualised forms of occultism. Concluding with works from artists such as Suzanne Treister, Lea Porsager and Louise Despont, ​Not Without My Ghosts d​emonstrates how contemporary artists are using the power of the unseen and the ghostly to explore the radical ambiguities of the world around them.

Participating artists a​re:​ William Blake; Cameron; Ann Churchill; Ithell Colquhoun; Louise Despont; Casimiro Domingo; Madame Fondrillon; Chiara Fumai; Madge Gill, Susan Hiller; Barbara Honywood; Georgiana Houghton; Anna Mary Howitt; Victor Hugo; Augustin Lesage; Pia Lindman; Ann Lislegaard; André Masson; Grace Pailthorpe; František Jaroslav Pecka; Olivia Plender; Sigmar Polke; Lea Porsager; Austin Osman Spare; Yves Tanguy ​and​ Suzanne Treister​ with ​The Museum of Blackhole Spacetime Collective.

Noviadi Angkasapura; Robert Barry; Vidya Gastaldon; Jock Macdonald and Emma Talbot will be included in the exhibition tour.

Not Without My Ghosts: The Artist As Medium is a Hayward Gallery Touring exhibition from Southbank Centre, London, developed in partnership with Drawing Room, curated by Lars Bang Larsen (art historian & writer based in Copenhagen and adjunct curator, Moderna Museet, Stockholm), Simon Grant (Editor, Tate Etc magazine, co-editor Picpus magazine) and Marco Pasi (Associate Professor & Director, Centre for the History of Hermetic philosophy, University of Amsterdam).  It will travel to Blackpool, Sheffield and Swansea later in the year.


‘[A] fascinating celebration of ethereal forces’
The Guardian 'Exhibition of the Week'