“The Violet Crab” at DRAF, London
“The Violet Crab” at DRAF looks to cabaret past and present in over 100 new commissions, live acts and works from the David Roberts Collection, taking residence in an extravagant mise-en-scene designed and directed by artist Than Hussein Clark. “The Violet Crab” at DRAF takes cabaret as a situation for queering the inscriptions of time and space.
“The white cube of the gallery must no longer be so terrified of the black box of the theatre. Turning the spatial and temporal architectures of exhibition-making upside down, cabaret provides a narrative framework in which to rearrange hierarchies between subject and object and performance.
I think here of a series of protagonists: Kander & Ebb, two Jewish homosexuals who gleefully pen a new fascist anthem two-thirds of the way through their score for the musical Cabaret; Christopher Isherwood and WH Auden, on whose lucky escape to the musical and sexual underworld of Wiemar the same musical was based; and the French Fumistes without whose radical disdain for order the erotic incoherencies of Wiemar would have never been possible.
So like ‘The Black Cat’ before it, ‘The Violet Crab’ at DRAF opens its doors to questions of how the erotic, the melodramatic, and the tragic might satirise the rules of production in the present.”
Than Hussein Clark
Than Hussein Clark dramatically reconfigures the structures and architecture of the gallery— from furniture (stages, tables, mirrors, curtains and screens) to concierge to printed matter. The exhibition spaces become cloakroom, bar, stage, backstage and shadow theatre to explore the dynamics of subject and object, attitude and identity. Commissions by other artists include murals by Allison Katz and Shaan Syed, flower arrangement sculptures by Carter Mull, a video by Luiz Roque, with loans from iconic designers Claude and François Xavier Lalanne, a selection of paintings by Anj Smith, works by Cindy Sherman and jewellery by designer Frances Wadsworth-Jones.
Over sixty artworks from the David Roberts Collection are present including never seen works by Caroline Achaintre, Charles Avery, Hans Bellmer, Gerald Leslie Brockhurst, Felipe Jesus Consalvos, William N Copley, Enrico David, Andre de Dienes, Cerith Wyn Evans, Barnaby Furnas, Burt Glinn, Juan José Gurrola, Erich Hartmann, Ansel Krut, Roy Lichtenstein, Ludovico de Luigi, Susan Meiselas, Marilyn Minter, Helmut Newton, Julian Opie, Grayson Perry, Pietro Roccasalva, James Rosenquist, Niki de Saint Phalle, Jerry Schatzberg, Cindy Sherman, Anj Smith, Joseph Edward Southall, John Cecil Stephenson, Joana Vasconcelos, Andy Warhol, Paul Wunderlich, Emily Young.
until 2 May 2015
Than Hussein Clark, Bitterness Has No End, 2015
“The Violet Crab” installation views at DRAF, London, 2015
Courtesy: DRAF, London. Photo: Mark Blower.