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The pull of mythology is such that it wraps itself around us like an invisible shroud, defining us in rigid outlines filled with a shape-shifting mass of disappearing and reappearing ideas. Mythology isn’t just a floating island of stories irresistibly out of reach, but more like an iceberg – we see, react, debate, analyse and idealise the tip that stands out, forgetting most times of the unseen, immutable mass of history underneath. It’s within this paradox of static words and fluid meanings where mythology thrives, and that's what this issue of Arts Illustrated is hoping to unravel. We look at mythology’s relationship with art – the literal, the subtle, the obvious, the nuanced – and how ancient stories – the lived and the imagined – become potent tools with which to situate our contemporary world. We focus on artists who offer us not mythology’s supposed irrefutability but its apparent accessibility, easy charm, comforting appeal and its resonating familiarity that cuts across the real and the fantastical with the grace of a slow dance, and the power of disappearing and reappearing rhythm.

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