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Humoral Theory

Beers London

11 January - 22 February

Humoral Theory presents artists Morteza Khakshoor, Jerry Kowalsky, and Moley Talhaoui, each of who have distinct and separate practices, and who show at BEERS London together for the first time.

Also known as humourism, ‘humoral theory’ was a model for the workings of the human body in which four humours existed as liquids within the body. The humours were blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile, and they governed aspects of the human disposition, including the sanguine, choleric, melancholic, or phlegmatic. As a sort of antiquated ‘medical measurement’ of the body, it dates back to 3rd Century physicians who were interested in ailments and operations of the human body as being natural, as opposed to supernatural. Oddly, they are often referenced today in artistic and certain historic theories, perhaps because they summarize our natural bodily urges, impulses, and physicality into easily understandable categories. While humoral theory may seem slightly silly by today’s standards, they remain a poetic, metaphoric, and abstract means to understand the innate complexities of the human body, mind, and soul. Such thought predates medical, shamanistic, or (quasi)religious discoveries that occurred many centuries later – however naive they may still appear – such as flaying, trepanation, bloodletting, or even more modern psychological revelations as the Phrenology Chart, psychoanalytic study, or the Rorschach Test, for example – all of which are alluded to (if not directly referenced by) various works on exhibit here.

Further, there is a sort of ‘upending’ of the personal and historical by each artist, beginning with Kowalsky, a Dutch artist, who uses a modern, Jewish-sounding pseudonym precisely for its very ‘unremarkable everyman-ness’; or Talhaoui or Khakshoor, who seem to actively evade what the ‘art world’ might expect of them.


1 Baldwin Street, EC1V 9NU

Getting to: Beers London

The gallery is a 3 minute walk from Old Street station (exit 8). Alternatively Shoreditch High Street and Moorgate stations are approximately 15 minutes walk from the Gallery.

Buses: The 43, 205 and 214 stop close by on City Road.

Please contact Transport for London for detailed travel advice


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