press release

For her first show with Sadie Coles HQ, Spartacus Chetwynd presents Odd Man Out, a play that runs for five hours every Thursday and Saturday this May. The performance hopes to enliven bored Londoners.

The five-hour performances revolve around ideas of democracy, the right to vote and the disincentives against engaging in politics. Giant photocopies work as barriers to divide the gallery into alternative routes, with voting booths at the start of the exhibition leading through to different performances. Be careful who you vote for in Odd Man Out as your vote has a literal effect on the outcome of your circumstance.

In one area there is an oracle. An alternative route leads via an inflatable slide to the downstairs gallery, where visitors encounter a play based on Doris Lessing’s The Grass is Singing. This one-woman mime drama is a kind of punishment or purgatory. Another entrance leads to a giant monster in a dark setting amid a sea of bin liners and charred limbs. Nearby, if you make it across the Dantescape, the audience can find a puppet re-enactment of Jesus and Barabas being offered to the multitude.

The coordinated action of the puppeteers creates a symbol of inter-reliance and cooperation. Embedded within this presentation of democratic power is an analogy for society and the body politic: social cohesion, which does not occur through democracy, is made evident through the power of the puppet!

From the voting booths onwards, Odd Man Out seeks to be demonstrative, pushy and preachy, much like the theatrical Christian ‘Hell Houses’ of the American south that persuade an individual to turn to Christianity. Odd Man Out squishes and squeezes non-conformism and free thinking out of its audience.

Spartacus Chetwynd (b. 1973, London) studied Social Anthropology at University College London before studying art at the Slade and the RCA. She has performed and exhibited internationally. 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. Recent performances include ‘A Tax Haven Run By Women’, Frieze Projects 2010 and ‘The Visionary Vineyard: Free Energy Workshop’, Hayward Gallery, London 2011. In 2010 she was shortlisted for the Jarman Award for video artists, and she was recently shortlisted for the Max Mara Art Prize For Women (to be announced in September). Her work is included in ‘British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet’, touring to Glasgow and Plymouth later in the year. In 2007 a book was published on her performances by Migros Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst.

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Spartacus Chetwynd
Odd Man Out