Apostate Gallery

Neoreligious tyranny births contrarian apostasy

For several years, Parallax Optics has been at the forefront of a nascent movement to undermine the status economy of the Contemporary Art World (CAW).

The CAW is a highly policed space of totalised ideological capture. It is a zone of creative conformism, professional compliance and ‘radical’ posturing by the ‘artists’ / Neoreligious zealots who inhabit it.

But the concept of an ‘inside’ doesn’t merely presuppose an ‘outside’ – it conjures one. 

For too long, the CAW has maintained a vice-like grip on status in the art world, promulgating a moral legislature on what contemporary artists can make, show and think. 

To status seeking contemporary artists, the CAW presides over the realm of creative ideation, which in turn defines the plane of creative possibility, which generates a self-reinforcing feedback loop of ever tightening / more restrictive aesthetic territory.

Genuine artistic creativity – which is the pursuit of new forms, alongside the perfection of existing ones, alternately extending and compounding aesthetic knowledge – has been circumscribed by this process. It has been delimited by the encroachment of a militant / puritanical ‘moralism’, which has gone on to subsume it. In effect, a permanent injunction has been raised against contemporary artists to remain inside the Universalist thought-reservation. 

The irony is that, as progressives, contemporary artists tend to think of ‘religious art’ as an anachronism – a static, dusty old relic from the past. They perceive themselves as freethinking, rational individuals – atheists, or at least agnostics – unshackled from the oppressive strictures of naïve and pernicious religious dogma, which afflicted their predecessors: the dead, white, male artists of the past. 

This is fallacious. While the specific content of Universalist religious dogma may have changed and evolved – transgenderism is in / immaculate conception is out – the overarching ideological structure of deontological religiosity remains intact. When apprehended via these optics, self-styled ‘radical’ left-wing artists can be seen for what they actually are – pious, conformist, Neoreligious zealots.

They are not, as they claim, part of the lineage of the avant-garde, radicals and revolutionaries. Rather, they are self-appointed missionaries, in possession of nothing more ‘radical’ than an updated list of taboos / sacred prohibitions, deployed in the service of the Universalist state religion. 

Contemporary artists position themselves as special – freethinking, iconoclastic individuals, who ask ‘difficult questions’ and ‘speak truth to power’. Nothing could be further from the truth. In 2021 the ‘radical’ edge of the CAW is vastly overpopulated by intellectually petrified, pseudo-creative missionaries of the Universalist status quo. 

Because of these structural power dynamics, the act of artistic creation has itself been caged – defanged, castrated and lobotomised – a detourned zombie simulacrum void of radical potentiality. Captured by a status system, and a funding system, in service of the Neoreligious moral orthodoxy. 

Parallax Optics is a key node in a decentralised network of heretical content creators intent on forming a parallel status system outside the CAW. 

II

Parallax Optics accepts the consensus viewpoint of heliocentrism – beyond that lie vast territories of thought under ideological contestation. 

As a political structure, Universalist pseudo-democracy has a systemic interest in the manipulation / programming of individuals political opinions, which are aggregated to form consensus reality and mobilised to justify political action. 

The Cathedral weaves a narrative of cradle-to-grave indoctrination, which the State incentivises / actions compliance with. Parallax Optics rejects the homogeneous, ideological cordyceps of the Universalist state in favour of the promulgation of heterogeneous, heretical counter-narratives. 

Neoreligious ideological tyranny births Copernican contrarian apostasy.

III

Friends, lurkers and paypigs Parallax Optics presents to you Apostate Gallery – the first online digital platform exclusively dedicated to showcasing heretical art.

Apostate Gallery’s mission is to become a nexus for heretical art. A key node in the formation of a parallel status system outside the CAW. Affiliated artists are explicitly ‘heretical’ because they seek to substantively question, reject or oppose the Neoreligious orthodoxy of the CAW.

Apostate Gallery is divided into Exhibition and Edition spaces. The Exhibition space is designed to showcase the work of heretical artists. Exhibitions are curated and concept driven, contextualised by an awareness of Deep Right, dissident-right and post-political positions. Artists are animated by an irreverence / resistance to the religious dogma and sacred objects / categories of the CAW.

While the majority of exhibitions are ‘virtual’ / exist exclusively online, Apostate Gallery also stages clandestine events in meatspace and uploads / remixes documentation digitally. Reconnaissance missions / incursions into meatspace are important because they create reverberations, which can be amplified online to further undermine the CAW status system.

The Edition space is an online marketplace where it is possible to purchase limited edition artworks / anti-cultural artefacts. Editions are made in collaboration with heretical artists / content creators and are available exclusively at Apostate Gallery.

Exhibitions forge an oppositional vector to the CAW via aesthetics as a force-multiplier in the realm of the symbolic. They also confer value on editions, which provide a vital source of income / potential financial independence from the system for heretical artists. Overtime, the rising price of editions, which typically increases as they sell out, will generate opportunities for the sale of whole exhibitions. Ultimately, this will serve to underwrite the importance not only of Apostate Gallery but heretical art more widely conceived.

The Deep Right is inherently threatening to the CAW because it’s a 4D idea-space which extends far beyond the spaciotemporal dimensions of the Universalist thought-reservation. Apostate Gallery’s aim is not to sanction merely didactic / self-consciously political art but to champion art which is heretical because it refuses to accept a life sentence on the Universalist thought-reservation / concept prison.

IV

Art movements, from Dada to Surrealism to Abstract Expressionism to Frog Twitter, have historically begun as small, inwardly directed groups of like-minded individuals drawn together by a shared – though not necessarily uniform – aesthetic sensibility. Creative energy is initially focused internally, generating heat, which radiates outwards and draws external attention to the movement’s aesthetic, political and philosophic innovations.

Apostasy is the low-hanging fruit of contemporary art. It embodies a chance to finally break free from the interminable Universalist holiness-signalling spiral the CAW has been trapped in for over a generation. Ultimately, apostasy points towards an opportunity to generate preconditions necessary for a reverse transvaluation of values, and arrest the aesthetic Left singularity.

Inside the CAW, relatively few artists make money directly from their work. Instead, they use it to gain status points in an alternative status economy, which they use to leverage social goods / opportunities, like fucking arthoes. Because of the nature of this alternative economy, converting a steadily increasing number of ambitious and open minded artists / creative people to the low-hanging fruit / zero-to-one potential of heretical art shouldn’t be difficult.

Indeed, as more artists flip / defect from the CAW, it will become increasingly viable – not only to gain points in an alternative status economy – but to make money from defection. A shadow / parallel system should begin to emerge, parts of which may be co-opted back inside the CAW, contaminating it, while other elements will remain resolutely outside it.

The Universalist status quo, which the CAW is predicated upon, is founded on lies. It protects vested interests founded on lies. To tell the truth artists must be willing to become heretics. The existing status hierarchy will never abolish itself. There need to be focal points for defection / nodes to create preconditions for a heretical preference cascade. 

Iconoclasm is fundamentally memetic. It doesn’t revolve around the literal destruction of Universalist artworks. There is no call to go to galleries or museums and smash shit up. Instead, the target is the extant status hierarchy. To attack the CAW the Deep Right doesn’t need a sledgehammer – it needs an alternative. We need to build something – first conceptually, then in the form of organisational infrastructure – for artists to defect to then inhabit.

As the premier digital platform dedicated to showcasing heretical art, Apostate Gallery is conceived as a key node / focal point in the aesthetic conflict / shift to come. A fortified staging post, situated deep within enemy status / memetic territory, from which to stage an aesthetic siege on the CAW.

Follow Apostate Gallery on Twitter and Patreon

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