Spartacus Chetwynd

The Fairy Feller

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The Fairy Feller
Spartacus Chetwynd
The Fairy Feller
2003
Paper, paint, paper-mache, glue and dutch metal
200 x 150 x 20 cm

The Fairy Feller is an enlarged hand-tinted and gold-leafed photocopy of Richard Dadd’s most famous painting. Epitomising the Victorian fervour for the supernatural and occult, Dadd’s canvas shows a fantastical narrative that draws from mythology and literature. Its obsessive detail is often attributed to Dadd’s psychopathy: the painting, made during his long incarceration at Bethlem Hospital for the criminally insane, took 9 years to complete. Spartacus Chetwynd appropriated this image to use as a prop in a performance that celebrated radical British visionaries such as William Blake and Mary Wollstonecraft. In the performance, nymphs burst from the painting and danced to music from The Seventh Seal, an Ingmar Bergman film which takes its name from the biblical prophecy of The Final Judgement.


     
 


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