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Goldsmiths - University of London

Mythopoesis or Fiction as Mode of Existence: Three Case Studies from Contemporary Art

O'Sullivan, Simon D.. 2017. Mythopoesis or Fiction as Mode of Existence: Three Case Studies from Contemporary Art. Visual Culture in Britain, 18(2), pp. 292-311. ISSN 1471-4787 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article explores a trend in some British contemporary art towards ‘fictioning’, when this names not only the blurring of the reality/fiction boundary, but also, more generally, the material instantiation – or performance – of fictions within the real. It attends to three practices of this fiction as mode of existence: sequencing and nesting (Mike Nelson); the deployment ‘fabulous images’ and intercessors (Brian Catling); and more occult technologies and an idea of the ‘invented life’ (Bonnie Camplin). The article also attends to the mythopoetic or ‘world-making’ aspect of these practices and the way this can involve recourse to other times, past and future. Mythopoesis also involves a sense of collective enunciation and, with that, a concomitant disruption of the more dominant fiction of the self.

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Identification Number (DOI):


mythopoesis, fictioning, Mike Nelson, Brian Catling, Bonnie Camplin

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


4 July 2017Accepted
4 August 2017Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

10 Nov 2017 11:06

Last Modified:

07 Mar 2019 10:45

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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