The Hanmi Gallery on Maple Street is part way through a refurbishment. The inside of the building is derelict — and the perfect setting for creating the mise-en-scene for Confessions Of An Opium Eater, an exhibition and installation by Swedish-Korean artist Leonard Johansson.
Arranged over several floors from an opium den in the basement to oil-on-canvas and other artefacts associated with the sub-culture on the upper floors. Confessions of an Opium Eater is a nod to Thomas De Quincey’s autobiographical book, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, which accounts the author’s life as an opium addict in early 19th century London.
Drugs and their use for pleasure are frowned upon in mainstream culture, but in the nineteenth-century Britain profited handsomely from growing opium in eastern India and shipping it to China who tried to ban its import. When the Chinese successfully seized a million kilos of the stuff and dumped it in Canton harbour the British declared war and gained Hong Kong in the process. Opium not only shaped conciousness but it helped to shape the modern world.
As part of Fitzrovia Lates — the monthly late night gallery openings — Leonard Johansson will be giving a talk about his work while leading a guided tour of the gallery.
A tour and talk by the artist Thursday 24 April 2014: arrive 6pm, tour and talk starts at 7pm. Admission free.
Confessions of an Opium Eater, an installation by Swedish-Korean artist Leonard Johansson runs until 27 April 2014. The Hanmi Gallery, 30 Maple Street, London W1T 6HA