'Spellbound' exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum

'Spellbound: Magic, Ritual & Witchcraft', a temporary exhibition designed by Stanton Williams is on display at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

The exhibition explores the history and enduring appeal of magic over eight centuries, asking visitors to examine their own beliefs and rituals to demonstrate how magical thinking still permeates contemporary society.

We responded to this unique and intriguing curatorial narrative by designing a series of atmospheric spaces that help immerse visitors in the narrative contexts of the fantastical objects on display – including a human heart encased in lead, and a unicorn’s horn – through their configuration across three distinct yet interconnected rooms. The spaces’ respective focus will be the cosmos, protection of the home, and witchcraft, with historical objects displayed alongside contemporary artworks to showcase the legacy of magical thinking and its connection to deep-rooted human desires.

Dr. Xa Strugis, Director of the Ashmolean, said: “Magic has always been a subject close to my heart and I’m thrilled that this exhibition takes such an imaginative and impactful approach to the subject. We may think that we’ve grown out of the magical belief of our forebears but Spellbound makes clear that we still think magically.”

'Spellbound: Magic, Ritual & Witchcraft' is on display at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 6 January 2019.

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