Monteverdi Gallery: 2013 Exhibition
Bat Opera, Spartacus Chetwynd (now known as Marvin Gaye Chetwynd)
September – December, 2013
Chetwynd’s exhibition, Bat Opera, inaugurated the Monteverdi Gallery, following a six-week residency by the artist. Chetwynd created a new series of works as part of her ongoing Bat Opera series, small uniform oil paintings on canvas paper which reference baroque landscapes, theatrical stage sets, and the character of the bat as protagonist – an unloved and endangered species transformed by Chetwynd into the central figure in these dramatic framed storyboards. The paintings were accompanied by two costumes that hosted two theatrical maquettes. Made from two paintings, these card and paste mini stage sets were three-dimensional interpretations of the landscapes featured in the paintings.
Chetwynd’s practice includes performance, sculpture, painting, and video. Her ambitious and energetic performances resemble folk plays or street spectacles, involving a fluid troupe of recruited friends and family members. Addressing subjects as diverse as Adam and Eve in the poetry of John Milton (The Fall of Man, Tate Britain, 2006) or ancient and modern systems of democracy (Odd Man Out, Sadie Coles, London, 2011), the performances strike a darkly carnivalesque note, and tread an ambiguous line between melodrama, arcane ritual, and fan culture.
Chetwynd studied Social Anthropology at University College London before studying art at the Slade and the RCA. She has performed and exhibited internationally, and was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2012. Odd Man Out was restaged at Tate Britain, London, from October 2012 to January 2013. Other major performances include Home Made Tasers, New Museum, New York (2011-12), The Visionary Vineyard: Dreaming of Free Energy, Hayward Gallery, London (2011, part of British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet), and A Tax Haven Run By Women, Frieze Projects, Frieze Art Fair, London (2010). Major solo exhibitions include Help! I’m trapped in a Muzuzah Factory, Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2008) and Spartacus Chetywnd, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich, Switzerland (2007). Current and recent group exhibitions include: The Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art, Goteborg, Sweden (2013); Aquatopia, Notthingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK, and Tate St Ives, St Ives, UK (2013); Performance Now: The First Decade of the New Century, various venues, USA (2012-14); and British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet, various UK venues (2010). In 2007, a book was published on her performances by Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst. In 2014, she will have solo exhibitions at Notthingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK, and Studio Voltaire, London.