Communion: Ben Judd | Author: Pandora Syperek

Communion is a documentation of the work of artist Ben Judd. Using a distinct and wide variety of methodologies within performance and video to explore the themes of scepticism and belief, Judd concentrates on those sects and sections of society pinned to marginalized, occult or esoteric belief systems, such as witches, clairvoyants and shamans.

Comprising commissioned text and color imagery (original photography and stills gleaned from his video work), the book reveals the dual processes of art and the occult as tied up in a seemingly never-ending quest to uncover 'truths', both operating in an intriguing place where nothing is proven. Art is seen as a magical process, in which objects, images and ideas become transformed through the mutual belief of the artist and viewer. The roles that Judd adopts examine this fusion of practices, often positioning himself as the initiate, at the fulcrum between immersion and separation.

Judd explores how the rituals of these marginalized groups and individuals can be extended into actions realised by actors (hovering between immersion and a more knowing state), and how these actions can be interpreted in moving image. Positioning himself as participant and observer, Judd engages the grey area between ritual and performance, searching for an unreachable and idealized state of community. His practice imagines a process of coming together and a unifying of purpose and belief, thereby examining the individual in relation to the group and the ambiguity of whether the group offers freedom or conformity.

Communion includes essays by Emma Cocker, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Nottingham Trent University; Simon Morrison, Professor in Music History, Princeton University; John Slyce, Senior Lecturer and Research Tutor, Royal College of Art, London; and Pandora Syperek from the Department of History of Art, University College London.


96 Pages

240 x 180 mm

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