Brompton Cemetery Art Installation Explores Ilua Hauck da Silva’s Dark Existential Conundrums

Brompton Cemetery Art Installation

Brompton Cemetery is presenting ‘Minotaurs of the Mind – The Second Coil’, a solo show by Anglo-Brazilian artist Iluá Hauck da Silva in partnership with the Friends of Brompton Cemetery.  Sculptures and 2D work will be displayed in the serene surroundings of Brompton’s Chapel, to form a visual dialogue with the Cemetery’s environment and monuments. This exhibition will resonate with underlying narratives on the transience of life, loss, and grief, as well as with particular 19th-century sensibilities which are inherent to Brompton, one of London’s oldest Victorian Cemeteries.

Hauck da Silva was born and raised in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, and moved to London in 1997. She graduated from Goldsmiths’ College in 2002 and continues to live and work in London. Drawing on her background in art history, existentialist philosophy and 19th-century art, her work is permeated by a strong sense of the relationship between decadence and beauty. It fuses the painful and the poetic, the secular and the sublime.

The focus of the show will be the unveiling of the sculpture ‘Despair’, the latest addition to the series ‘Minotaurs of the Mind’, an ongoing project which visually investigates existential conundrums.  The idea of the mind as a labyrinth, where one’s true self is often lost, is explored. The monstrous Minotaurs, which inhabit the mind, are represented by pieces that confront some of the darkest aspects of the human condition: evil, vanity, corruption, and now, desperation. Through this body of work, the artist poetically subverts Victorian values, Greek Mythology, and classical art genres such as Vanitas, in order to articulate reflections on contemporary cultural and social values, as well as to inspire pondering on the contradictions of our human nature.  

Reminiscent of Symbolist and Pre-Raphaelite discourses, the visual vocabulary employed in ‘Minotaurs of the Mind’ is complex and rich. Meticulous attention to details, high-quality materials such as optical glass and lead crystal, and impeccable finish charge the work with ethereal and precious qualities: as meaning unfolds, beauty, pain, and pleasure crystallise.

Iluá Hauck da Silva has exhibited extensively in the U.K., including shows at the National Trust Sutton House, The Royal Landscape, The Mall Galleries, and The Shoreditch Town Hall. Internationally, she has exhibited in Brazil and Belgium. The artist has been nominated for the Aesthetica Art Prize, and twice for both The Winter Pride Awards and the Passion for Freedom Awards. Her work features in private collections in the U.K., Belgium, Brazil, Switzerland, and Thailand.

Brompton Cemetery was opened in 1840 as the West of London and Westminster Cemetery. It is now a Grade I Listed site in the national Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. It is the only one of the London Victorian Cemeteries known as The Magnificent Seven which is owned by the Crown and managed by the Royal Parks on behalf of the nation. Grade II* Listed, the domed Chapel, in the style of the basilica of St Peter’s in Rome, is reached by long colonnades and flanked by catacombs – a setting intended to give Brompton Cemetery the feel of a large open air cathedral.

Thanks to a large grant from the Heritage and Big Lottery Funds, planning is now in progress to restore and improve the Cemetery. This will benefit the funerary business and enable enjoyment of this wonderful forty acre oasis, set in an immensely crowded part of London, by an even wider range of local people, as well as by the many thousands of visitors from around the world. The work is due to be completed by early 2018.

Minotaurs of the Mind – The Second Coil 14th – 30th September 2016 Iluá Hauck da Silva Brompton Cemetery Chapel



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