Black Thorns in the White Cube is a gallery exhibition of Black Metal art
curated by Amelia Ishmael
(exhibition catalogue is available here)

Tour program:
January 21 to March 3, 2012 at Paragraph Gallery (Kansas City, MO)
March 16 to April 14, 2012 at Western Exhibitions (Chicago, IL)

Even with gloves, collecting a tangled specimen of thorny vines into a box is a precarious situation. Like a frenzied cat, the thorns spur out in all directions, their firm stems snap, rebound, and unfurl. Attempting to curl them into more manageable forms is natural. And perilous. Consider yourself enchanted if you get through the entire endeavor without scratches or punctures. And once you think you’ve bound them? They pierce through the sides of the box. Refusing to be contained.

An exhibition of Black Metal artworks is a thorny occasion. Summoned by Amelia Ishmael, “Black Thorns in the White Cube” is a traveling exhibition presenting a selection of photography, prints, drawings, and artist books by eight contemporary artists who are influenced by the heavy, dark, and mystic obscurity of Black Metal music. Based in the United States and Europe participating artists include:

Alexander Binder (Stuttgart, Germany),
Vincent Como (Brooklyn),
Terence Hannum (Baltimore),
Karlynn Holland (Brooklyn),
Elodie Lesourd (Paris, France),
Aaron Metté (Brooklyn),
Christophe Szpajdel (Exeter, U.K.),
Grant Willing (Brooklyn), and
Tereza Zelenkova (London, England).

Engaging with the symbols, history, and myths of the Black Metal music subculture, their images explore haunted Germanic forests, descents into the void, visual translations of sonic experiences, ontologies of Black Metal band logos, and barren western landscapes. Together their artwork contributes to the discourse currently occurring in Black Metal theory, examines the innovations and significance of contemporary Black Metal visual art, and offers an account of its critical disruptions.


"La mostra Black Thorns in the White Cube ha riunito nella stessa cornice artisti diversissimi tra loro, tutti accomunati da una propensione per oscurita ed esoterismo."
— Marco Andreoletti for KVLT magazine, Italy

"Black Thorns in the White Cube is not a roar, but a black hum that reverberates throughout the gallery; a visual vibration that constantly insists one to experience the exhibition as a whole by striving on the codependence between each piece. If one finds it difficult to decipher the esoteric codes found in each piece, I suggest standing in the center of the gallery and allowing the work to hum."
— Jason Judd for BITE magazine, International

"Curated by artist and black metal scholar Amelia Ishmael, the works by Elodie Lesourd, Vincent Como, Aaron Mette, Terence Hannum, Karlynn Holland, Tereza Zelenkova, Alexander Binder and Grant Willing explore black metal via its iconography, signs and rituals, creating an experience that captures the visceral, emotional impact of the music and the scene far better than any other interpretive medium thus far."
— Phil Morehart, "Bang Your Head Darkly:
Traveling Exhibition Explores Black Metal Through Art" for Chicago Journal

"The trials, tribulations, and peregrinations of Black Metal culture (see Svart Metall) may be lost to those who shuffle through this mortal coil with little or no awareness of the byplay of intercultures that live, thrive, or exist on this plane of the universe, but Black (or Dark) Metal seems to carry on in ways that aren't readily stitched together in the pointless pabulum of mainstream media for a public unready to accept
the everyday darkness that lights the shadow of humanity."
— Mike Miller, "Evoking a Musical Beast that Speaks to a Dark Culture"
for Cupcakes in Regalia

"On a recent sunlit Saturday afternoon, with street traffic filtering past the windows at the front of the downtown gallery, the Paragraph seemed miles away — both geographically and atmospherically — from the Nordic landscapes inspiring much of this exhibit's works. But with the droning sounds of Ural Umbo on the record player in the background, the wispy flames of Hannum's candles seemed almost to quiver."
— Theresa Bembnister, "Dark Matters" for The Pitch Weekly

"On Friday, January 20th, Black Thorns in the White Cube opened at the Paragraph Gallery in Kansas City, MO. Featuring artists Alexander Binder, Vincent Como, Terence Hannum, Karlynn Holland, Elodie Lesourd, Aaron Metté, Grant Willing, Christophe Szpajdel and Tereza Zelenkova, and curated by Amelia Ishmael, this den of black arts brought people in droves, sheltering them from the cold of the KC winter with the icy arms of
black metal comfort."
— Meghan MacRae, "Black Thorns in the White Cube Opening Night" for CVLT Nation

"This Friday the 20th from 6-9pm, Black Thorns in the White Cube is opening at the Paragraph Gallery in Kansas City, MO, and it is an exhibition of artists that I would jump at the chance to see together [...] This is an intellectual exploration and visual interpretation of black metal, and the artists participating are visionaries of their dark crafts."
— Meghan MacRae, "Black Thorns in the White Cube Gallery Opening" for CVLT Nation


postcards for Black Thorns in the White Cube

Paragraph Gallery

from 12th street

from 12th Street window

from left: Grant Willing, Karlynn Holland, Aaron Metté,
Tereza Zelenkova, Elodie Lesourd

Terence Hannum; from top: Pentagon series, Threshold

from left, Alexander Binder, Vincent Como

Tereza Zelenkova

Karlynn Holland

flyers for Paragraph Closing Reception

Boreas performing at closing reception, Kansas City


Western Exhibitions

from the entry threshold of Western Exhibitions

from left: Alexander Binder, Grant Willing, Christophe Szpajdel

from left: Karlynn Holland, Tereza Zelenkova

from left: Aaron Metté, Terence Hannum

from left: Elodie Losourd, Vincent Como