KNIGHT ARTS on CHRISTINA PETTERSSON’S “THE CASTLE DISMAL”

Pillars-large-webWords by Anne Tschida

When Christina Pettersson’s solo show opens at the new Primary Projects space in downtown Miami, it will launch much more than the intriguing “The Castle Dismal” exhibit itself. She joins up with O, Miami poetry month, creates special events including at the Miami City Cemetery, and will host a haunted house tour. This is going to be fun and engaging.

First off, the show will highlight brand new works inspired by her fascination with Southern Gothic, in drawing, installation and sculpture. Often in the past, her works have incorporated self-portraiture, and likely these will be no exception. They also mix the macabre with the romantic, in dark fairytale style.

With “her deft pencil strokes, you are drenched in Gothic whimsy and beguiled by the gentle monster of an imagination overgrown with carnival and myth. Pettersson is bewitched by the songs of forgotten ghosts, by the incomprehensible decadence of her beloved South. How could you resist her mayhem?” writes Susanna Sonnenberg. Although born in Stockholm, Sweden, Petterrsson has adopted Miami and the sensual south, both its visual vagaries and its famous literature.

During the run of the show at the gallery, Petterrsson will present a separate project called “Anonymous Letters,” part of O, Miami. It’s meant to strike a blow at the so-called “death of hand-writing,” by providing a space where visitors can hand-write a poem chosen from a book and it will be sent to a random person in Miami, an homage to both the beauty of the word and the hand-written text itself.

On May 3 and June 14, she will lead a 45-minute tour of one of her favorite spots, The Miami City Cemetery on N.E. Second Avenue; make your own grave rubbing afterwards (she’ll also celebrate her birthday in the cemetery on May 26). She’ll lead a 10 p.m. ghost tour of the abandoned houses of Buena Vista – wear black and bring your own candle! On May 16, you can join in with Petterrsson’s mother and her book club (Mother’s Day), to discuss the classic southern works of Flannery O’Connor, also at the gallery.

There will be other readings, tours and interactive events, making this one of the best ghost rides through art and culture; there’s so much on offer there is no excuse to miss at least part of this unique excursion.

Christina Petterrsson “The Castle Dismal” opens April 18 and runs through June 20, along with “Anonymous Letters,” at Primary Projects, 151 N.E. 7th St., Miami; for all the other dates and times for events, go to primaryprojectspace.com.

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