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Martin Sexton's Spectres of Marx Pays Tribute to Wilhelm Reich's Much Discredited Theory of Orgone
Sex with Karl Marx.
LONDON.- In this exhibition inspired by psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich's last words spoken in an American prison, Spectres of Marx pays tribute to Reich’s much discredited theory of orgone, the hypothetical form of energy first proposed and promoted in the 1930s by Reich. Claiming that orgone is a manifestation of the Freudian concept of libido, Reich saw it as a universal bioenergetic force lying behind and causing much, if not all, observable phenomena. This claim led to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration obtaining a federal injunction barring the interstate distribution of orgone-related materials, on the charge that Reich and his associates were making false and misleading claims and led to Reich’s two-year imprisonment.

The title of the exhibition itself refers to Jacques Derrida’s text in which the philosopher alludes to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' statement at the beginning of the Communist Manifesto that a ‘spectre (of communism) is haunting Europe.’ Sexton is interested in exploring what he sees as Derrida's attempts to launch all unconventional weapons against the ten ‘plagues’ of capitalism - be they by occult, psychic or spectral means.

The exhibition, which witnesses modernity as a single-state or mono-culture, is conversely amplified by the artist’s new factory of multicolored Marx heads – some crowned with 'Das Kapital' safe deposits which contain orgonite, Reich’s physical medium, believed to attract orgone.

Twisting Warholian references into a 'New Factory' for a 'New International', the artist asks his audience through the beautiful form of a Shamanistic metamorphosis: a mask of Marx made from recycled TV screens: reaching out to the masses, to 'liberate love and labour’, declaring fascists as 'sexual cripples’, and urges his counterparts to 'fuck freely (as) comrades'.

Spectres of Marx will run from Friday 2nd October – Saturday 31st October with a private view on Thursday 1st October as part of the Whitechapel’s First Thursdays, where a newly commissioned film by acclaimed band Factory Floor will be screened. Later in the month during Zoo/Frieze week S.C.U.M. will play a live set in the space as part of art-wars project space’s October Revolution nights.

Wilhelm Reich | Communist Manifesto | Spectres of Marx |


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