‘Grand Guignol’ show focuses on comedy, horror this weekend


Artist Bradley Cahill 37, of Sycamore, helps display artwork at The Ballroom, 134 1/2 W. Lincoln Highway, in downtown DeKalb, Wednesday. The doors to the art exhibit will open to the public at 6 p.m. today.

By Carl Nadig

The horrifying experience of Parisian theatre is coming back for local art enthusiasts.

The Grand Guignol: A Celebration of Madness, Macabre and the Absurd will be held at 6 p.m. today and Friday at The Ballroom, 134 1/2 W. Lincoln Highway. The show is a darkly thematic art exhibition. Admission is free.

Originating from the 20th century, the exhibition teeters between shock value, comedy and history of horror entertainment.

“We’re doing a visual representation of a French horror theater experience,” said artist Bradley Cahill, 37, of Sycamore. “It was popular until I want to say until the 1940’s —around the time of the world wars, when the real horrors of life started to present themselves [and] people didn’t have a need for [it] anymore.”

Last October, the Grand Guignol exhibition premiered at Pilsen’s Temple Gallery in Chicago, as an open house feature. Now, the group has brought the experience to DeKalb in an attempt to gain more exposure.

“I wouldn’t say we have an identity, per se, at the moment,” said artist Joel Hunter, 23, of Normal. “I got wrapped into it through one of my old classmates and some of his contacts.

It’s a regular group. We’ve been doing group shows for a little while now. This’ll be the third show and this is the second viewing of it. So, technically, this will be the fourth time we’ve been out. It’s just a collection of artists.”

DeKalb’s exhibition will feature new artists and pieces. Artists from the surrounding area who are participating include Cahill, Alexander Flemm, Christopher Gray, William Haun and Hunter.

“We wanted to do a show again, but we wanted to do it in a different area,” said Flemm, 22, of Lombard. “It’s definitely an experience for everybody to come and check out. It’s not the normal art show with basic abstract stuff. It’s got that ‘what the hell is that?’ factor to it.”