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A word to the wise: this is not for the faint of heart. The idea for My Head is a Haunted House first started inside the imagination of a ‘weird’ little kid living in suburbia. Obsessed with horror of all kinds, Charlie Fox’s grandfather built him a haunted house where he could realize his fantasy of being anything that he wanted, whether it was a ghost or a werewolf crying blood over a cardboard tombstone.

In this constructed world, his imagination could run wild without limitation and it was in those childhood moments where My Head is a Haunted House was born. Until August 10, this horror collective exhibition at London’s Sadie Coles HQ is transporting viewers inside the mind of that little boy and sharing with them a world where things go bump in the night.

Besides your typical childhood horrors, the show includes the psychopath Buffalo Bill’s lair from The Silence of the Lambs, Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice, watching VHS rips of MTV’s Cribs on YouTube, and the Red Room from Twin Peaks. But the relationship between these disparate elements of horror may not be immediately obvious. However, they all come together to make the concept of home… something else.

Taking further inspiration from movies like Under the Skin, Beauty & the Beast, and even Hereditary, Charlie Fox, the curator, wanted to mutate conventional storytelling into a sinister environmental simulation inside somebody’s head. With works by artists like Ed Atkins, Larry Clark, Alex da Corte, Mike Kelley, Tetsumi Kudo, Mary Ellen Mark, Marianna Simnett or Haim Steinbach, he creates such environment and achieves to change the audience’s mindset. A mental space turned physical space outside the realm of reality, where the ideas of memory, fear, the strangeness of being inside a body and what it means to be (or not to be) at home manifests into a living but surreal experience.
The exhibition My Head is a Haunted House, curated by Charlie Fox, is on view until August 10 at Sadie Coles HQ, 62 Kingly Street, London.

Tyler Lea

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