‘Louise Giovanelli: Always Different, Always the Same’ is an artist’s book that documents an exhibition of site-specific paintings by one of the UK’s most prominent young artists. The publication takes British DJ John Peel’s famous description of Manchester-band The Fall, images of the eucharist and contemporary spiritual reverie as its starting point.
With each work in Giovanelli’s series appropriated from a single 1970s film still, in which a young woman is offered bread and wine at the altar from a priest during a Catholic liturgy of the eucharist, the artist’s portraits render a striking yet unnamed cinematic moment open to evocative and provocative interpretation.
Religious iconography, art history, contemporary celebrity, drug-taking, sex, personal doubling, and heightened emotional states are referenced, while a connection with reverie and revelation is strengthened by Giovanelli’s use of ‘Entheogen’ as the title for each painting, a word referring to the use of psychoactive substances that induce alterations in perception for the purpose of spiritual development, having been taken from the Greek Etheos, meaning ‘having a God in one’; ‘possessed’ and ‘divine’.
Although spiritual energy, sensation, art-history, repetition and difference anchor this project, Giovanelli’s recent works owe as much to her daily life in Manchester as they do her daily act of painting in the city. The artist cites red brick, gothic architecture, mythic sprites, and local pubs as influences on her work, an example of which comes with the visual vocabulary of Prestwich’s The Church Inn, whose green tiles have led to the same tint in each iteration of Entheogen.
Published on occasion of the exhibition ‘Louise Giovanelli: Always Different, Always the Same’, 23 Feb to 16 Apr 2023, Moon Grove, Manchester, UK and limited to 300 copies only.