The Witching Hour – Darkness and the Uncanny
BMAG, Birmingham, and Pitzhanger Manor, London, winter 2010-11

Curated by Matthew Collings and Matt Price, The Witching Hour was an exhibition that explored darkness and the uncanny in the work of over 20 artists from, or based in, Birmingham and the West Midlands, including internationally renowned artists such as Hurvin Anderson, Richard Billingham, Roger Hiorns, Idris Khan, George Shaw and Gillian Wearing, along with some of the region's leading emerging artists.

Supposedly the time of night when strange things happen, the witching hour is associated with the supernatural, witchcraft and folklore, represented in the exhibition in the form of baroque skeletons, macabre fighting insects, shadowy figures, ghoulish faces and ritualistic paraphernalia. But it was also an exhibition about something perhaps even more unsettling: the darkness that pervades everyday life, whether in the architecture of an abandoned factory, a run-down 1970s housing estate, or in people's own homes. It was an exhibition about the disconcerting, strange and uncanny that exists in our built environment, our social fabric and sometimes purely in our own minds. The exhibition was organised as part of Art of Ideas, a project initiated by Arts Council England. The exhibition was first held in the beautiful Gas Hall gallery of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, and a version of the exhibition, subtitled ‘Darkness and the Architectural Uncanny’ subsequently travelled to Pitzhanger Manor, London. A catalogue, published by Arts & Business, accompanied the exhibition, featuring an essay by Freya Smaill and text entries by Matt Price.