Anagnorisis Art Project and Gristle Tattoo are proud to present:
“The Elusive Key”
Allison Sommers, Anthony Pontius, Christina Graf, Caitlin Karolczak, Góthic Hangman, Jeremy Hush, Joshua Harker: Artist, Julianna Menna, Max Kahan, Michal Brodka, Michael Bukowski, Nicomi Nix Turner, Robert Kraiza, Ronnie Ray Mendez, Seldon Hunt, Tom Torluemke, Yao Xiao, Yuri Leonov and Zoë Williams.
On view from March 15th – April 11th, 2014
Curated by Samantha Levin
On March 17, 1904, the American icon, Harry Houdini, accepted a challenge from London’s Daily Illustrated Mirror to attempt an escape from a special set of handcuffs that had taken five years to make and that “no mortal man could pick.” From within his “ghost house,” that sat on the stage, Houdini spent an hour attempting to escape these cuffs, stepping out now and again, once to remove his coat, other times to clear his mind. At one point during the event, he stepped out to greet his loving wife who had come onto the stage to give him an encouraging kiss. Long after his wife’s appearance on stage, Houdini emerged free from the cuffs, and cried in front of his audience, exclaiming that this had been his most difficult challenge to date. Although it had taken him awhile to emerge uncuffed after his wife’s kiss, the rumor spread that she had smuggled him the key in her mouth.
The rumor about the key has never been proven. The item was too large to have fit in the lady’s mouth, so it’s not likely to be true, yet the strength of the romanticism surrounding such a story has allowed it to endure. Houdini’s entire career revolved around such dramatic mysteries, his charismatic ability to engage his audience and, of course, to escape the inescapable and endure the unendurable.
Houdini was a superman of his time; a man who accomplished the impossible in front of the wide eyes of the immigrants, poor and underdogs with whom he felt akin. His stunts were astounding in and of themselves – even his doubters couldn’t look away from him – yet his entire career and persona were metaphorical, symbolizing “…freedom to those seeking release from religious and political oppression,” offering a way of escape to all who felt trapped in an unfair life.
The Elusive Key is a group exhibition of artworks that celebrate the mystique and hope that surrounded Houdini everywhere during his life, and 88 years after his death. Scheduled to take place around the 110th anniversary of the Mirror handcuff escape, this show is an exhibition of magic, mystique and wonder that points towards the belief that anything can happen.