Hilary Jack’s The Late Great Planet Earth takes inspiration from Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth book (1970), which used social and political events to support theories of biblical doomsday prophecies. The show combines this with the idea of the The Blood Moon Prophecy; in which John Hagee takes the sequence of four total lunar eclipses from April 2014 – September 2015, as an apocalyptic omen. The exhibition explores not only these doomsday prophesies but our impact upon the earth, with Jack imagining the remnants of a world we leave behind from both a celebrity and critical viewpoint. Jack has selected six pieces that explore various aspects of these ideas; The Prophet and Christ is Coming directly reference the ideas surrounding doomsday prophecies, whilst The Late Great Planet Earth, Summit, Souvenir and Turquoise Bag in a Tree look closely at our impact on the planet and its legacy.
Turquoise Bag in a Tree is the first piece you encounter on entering the exhibition and is positioned centrally. The bag hanging precariously from the branch of a tree ties the idea of prophecies and environment together, as it acts as ‘a kind of symbol, a Sword of Damocles’, in which our careless approach to the environment like the doomsday prophecies is hanging over us. From this the other pieces span out to narrate different aspects of this idea.
The Prophet directly references the ideas of Hal Lindsey and the Blood Moon Prophecies. The installation takes the guise of an abandoned log cabin and its location in the corner of the gallery adds to this; as like with a desolate cabin you discover this after entering the exhibition, giving the impression of an outdoor space within the indoor space. It further develops the end of world prophecies and their appeal, acting as both a temple to these ideologies as well as a refuge from the apocalypse. Its contemplative space helps to solidify the various ideas the exhibition explores in subtle details such as; the red orb handing from the ceiling referencing the blood moon and its cycle, and the roman numbers etched onto the logs signalling time, in addition to the ambient sound emitted from the cabin that invokes the sound of the universe.
Summit explores our impact on nature and is a celebration of a simpler pre digital way of life. Jack creates a miniature landscape using cast rocks to draw our attention to the value of the earth beneath and how this is often overlooked. The piece serves as a celebration of the world, and again like The Prophet, uses light to reference the moon, but as force of creation rather than an omen. It is this contrast of opposites of destruction and creation, nature and digital, that run as an undercurrent through the exhibition, exploring Jack’s practice of taking something that has been discarded and renewing it. It returns to the Turquoise Bag in a Tree in which nature has been diminished in our excessive consumer culture by the sale of ideology that has blinded us to what lies beneath our feet.
Claire Walker is a writer based in Wigan.
Image courtesy Bury Sculpture Centre.
The Late Great Planet Earth, Bury Sculpture Centre, Bury.
19 September 2015 – 23 January 2016.