Factually Real Illusions is an exhibition that takes its name from Guy Debord’s seminal work of 1967, The
Society of the Spectacle. In this text, Debord describes the spectacle as an inverted image of society in which
relations between commodities have supplanted relations between people. Human interaction has been
commoditised within society, an authentic social life of the people replaced by a mere reflection; a factually
real illusion. In Debord’s view, the history of the social life can be understood as a gradual decline from
‘being’ into ‘having’ and from ‘having’ into simply ‘appearing’. If in society, as Debord suggests, ‘passive
identification with the spectacle supplants genuine activity’, how one can break free from complicity and
offer an alternative?
Factually Real Illusions constructs an ambiguous situation. An exhibition masquerading as production line,
reading room as artwork, exhibition as site of production. In a subtle inversion of display conventions, the
curatorial processes are exposed, the exhibition as a site for cultural production and non-passive interaction
become visible. Artists who use the vehicles and vernacular of capitalism and who work within society’s
structural frameworks, and those who interrogate a reading of such transactions have been invited to
participate in Factually Real Illusions.
Participating artists: Claire Bushby, Martin Creed, Samantha Donnelly, Fischli and Weiss, Alistair
Frost, Ryan Gander, Noemie Goudal, Felicity Hammond, Callum Leo Hughs, Dina Kelberman, Agata
Lakinska, Andrew Mealor, Takashi Murakami, Richard Nicholson, Michelle Lee Proksell, Prem
Sahib, Carla Scott-Fullerton, Alex Taylor, Francis Thorburn, Li Weiyi, Holly White, Gary Woodley,
Laura Yuile, Erik Zepka and Toby Ziegler.
The traditional office space, the nucleus of the spectacle, acts as the central hub of the show from which all
activities will flow. The office allows you to interact with artworks directly and file your own publication.
From here you can explore the exhibition, and challenge the society of the spectacle.