JONAH FREEMAN & JUSTIN LOWE – “A DIAMOND HIDDEN IN THE MOUTH OF A CORPSE”

22/11/2012 - 22/01/2013 ISTANBUL'74 KARAKÖY

ISTANBUL’74 & Marlborough Gallery Chelsea present “A Diamond Hidden In The Mouth Of A Corpse”, an exhibition by Jonah Freeman & Justin Lowe at the ISTANBUL’74 gallery space in Karakoy.
ISTANBUL’74 is pleased to announce its first ever exhibition in collaboration with New York based Marlborough Gallery Chelsea on view from November 22 –December 22 opening on the 22nd of November from 7 to 9pm. This project is yet another step in ISTANBUL’74′s mission to foster collaborative dynamics by pairing creative individuals and cultures.
The 1985 compilation album, A Diamond Hidden in the Mouth of a Corpse, released by Giorno Poetry Systems offers a smattering of avant-garde music and poetry by the likes of Cabaret Voltaire, David Johansen and Williams S. Burroughs.
What is not present on the record is the curious story behind the album title itself, which the producer, John Giorno came up with while traveling in the Far East in the middle 1960’s. His interest in Tibetan Buddhism had led him on a journey to visit a variety of Eastern shamans.
On one of his meetings he encountered a morbid and fascinating practice. On the outskirts of Bangkok he met a group of morticians who were harvesting the pineal gland from recently deceased human corpses.

The pineal gland which is located near the center of the brain is the main producer of melatonin which regulates our wake and sleep patterns. At the moment of death the pineal gland is flooded with the chemical Dimethyltryptamine (DMT). If extracted soon enough the pineal gland could offer secretions of a powerful DMT/Melatonin combination. Local doctors and spiritual leaders believed this combination to have many mystical and medicinal uses. If used topically it was believed to be a highly effective treatment for skin disease. If ingested through a prick in the skin it could produce a simulation of a near-death experience which many shaman’s thought to be a useful tool in the preparation for the passage from life. If dried and smoked it could produce a euphoric sense of calm – much like an extension of the exact moment when one slips into a dream sleep. The local’s referred to this as “A diamond hidden in the mouth of a corpse.”The Western fascination with Eastern spiritual practices brought an influx of mystical tourism to the East. While Giorno was visiting the pineal gland harvesters he encountered representatives from Upjohn Pharmaceuticals who had been dispatched to the region to see if this underground Thai tradition could be translated into an industrialized medicine. Giorno witnessed a battery of Tests being conducted. The scientists believed the pineal gland could yield a powerful anti-depressant and perhaps a new skin-moisturizing agent.

Upjohn Pharmaceuticals eventually turned the secretions of the human pineal gland into a drug called Monase, which was promoted as a “psychic energizer”. The drug had a short commercial life because of a torrent of reported adverse side effects – namely the feeling of the presence of ghosts.Freeman/Lowe have been collaborating since 2007. Jonah Freeman was born in 1975 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Freeman graduated from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. Justin Lowe was born in 1976 in Dayton, Ohio. Lowe received an MFA from Columbia University, New York. The artists currently live and work between New York and Los Angeles.Marlborough Fine Art was founded in London, England, in 1946 by Frank Harry Fischer. In 1963, a gallery was opened in Manhattan,New York, on Madison Avenue and 57th Street, which later relocated in1971 to its present location, 40 West 57th Street.Considered one of the most prestigious galleries in the world today, Marlborough Gallery started operating in another New York space on West 24th Street called Marlborough Chelsea, in 2007Marlborough Chelsea is one of the most important actors of the global art stage today. It provides an exciting new venue to view work by some of the most innovative and admired contemporary artists of the now.