Now open at Split Screen, curated by Dividni Shostakovich, is From Here On There Be Dragons by Alpha Auer. It stands as a celebration of these mythical, mystical beasts and much of what they represent both culturally and in terms of our own psyche.Within an abstract environment of ornate towers lit from within and semi-transparent floors, sit the dragons of the title. From Alpha’s notes, they stand as guardians of self; that this strange structure is perhaps – if I might borrow from the current British television incarnation of a certain sleuth) – a “mind palace”, in which is hid the wonders and terrors contained within our deeper selves; countries of the mind through which we might only travel with care, and having accepted the challenge presented by the dragon standing before each one.
More than just a guardian, however, the dragon can be seen as a symbol of the challenges we might face in travelling those countries of the mind. As the protector of treasure, it stands as the guardian of Self; as a creature of power, harnessing a primal element – fire – it is a reflection of our own force of personality; it can also stands as a symbol of the fears we might want to overcome and of our own self-courage in doing so; and it may also reflect our baser emotions: anger, selfishness, temper….