Andy Wilson: The Brilliant New Hercules: A Blake Reader
Hardcover : 210 pages
ISBN-13 : 978-0992650933
Product dimensions : 17.78 x 1.75 x 25.4 cm
Publisher : Unkant Publishers (24 Jan. 2015)
Language : English

Two years after inventing relief etching, the printing method best suited to recording late 18th century revolutionary free improv visions, William Blake & his wife Catherine moved to 13 Hercules Buildings, Lambeth, London. For the next ten years at the Hercules, according to James Joyce;

“Elemental beings and spirits of dead great men often came to the poet’s room at night to speak with him about art and the imagination. Then Blake would leap out of bed, and, seizing his pencil, remain long hours in the cold London night drawing the limbs and lineaments of the visions, while his wife, curled up beside his easy chair, held his hand lovingly and kept quiet so as not to disturb the visionary ecstasy of the seer. When the vision had gone, about daybreak his wife would get back into bed, and Blake, radiant with joy and benevolence, would quickly begin to light the fire and get breakfast for the both of them. We are amazed that the symbolic beings Los and Urizen and Vala and Tiriel and Enitharmon and the shades of Milton and Homer came from their ideal world to a poor London room, and no other incense greeted their coming than the smell of East Indian tea and eggs fried in lard.”

Andy Wilson, who also smells decidedly unlike incense alongside an also exceedingly patient wife, now revisits Blake’s visionary work through the bloodshot eyescapes of 21st century London. Armed with techniques for revolutionary free improv visions developed since Blake’s time (Marxism, psychoanalysis, LSD, Photoshop), Wilson rereads Blake’s esotericism as a practical programme for liberation, uniting otherwise trivial fragments of society’s detritus into animated, throbbing life as only someone kicked out of both the SWP & the British military can.

Wilson’s collages coagulate into a renewed mythopoeia, transcribing Blake’s visions onto the death throes of late capitalism, where radical subjectivity rendezvous with objective chance & explodes in kaleidoscopic class warfare. Full colour. “The most admirable thing about the fantastic is that the fantastic doesn’t exist, everything is real.” (André Breton)