Spartacus Chetwynd

Spartacus Chetwynd Exhibited at The Saatchi Gallery

Spartacus Chetwynd
The Fairy Feller


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.

Spartacus Chetwynd
The Lizard


Fabric, latex, cardboard, paint, plastic and hessian

170 x 100 x 60 cm
Chetwynd celebrates occasions in cultural history that exemplify extremist behaviour and belief. Her work cites instances that blur genius and madness to expose the raw zeal, aspiration, and creativity of utopian vision. The Lizard, The Mole, and The Stick Insect were all made as costumes for a performance about wildlife conservation. Chetwynd’s play was inspired by Joy Adamson, author of Born Free, a true story about Elsa, an orphaned lion cub that Adamson adopted, raised, and re-habituated back into the wild. Though Adamson is acclaimed as a pioneer of conservation practice, her fervent love of animals made her unable to relate to humans: she was murdered by one of her employees who mutilated her body to make it look as if she was killed by a lion. “I started making animals because you can’t have a production about this type of person without that environment.” Chetwynd explains.
Spartacus Chetwynd
The Mole


Fake fur, latex, paper-mache, paint and plastic

170 x 60 x 60 cm
Chetwynd describes her approach to art making as “unbridled enthusiasm”. For each work she strives for total immersion into the worlds of her subjects, honouring their passions and contributions with her own. This is reflected in the DIY style Chetwynd employs: her objects are handmade to illustrate how the earnest (and seemingly ridiculous) efforts of one person can have real and meaningful consequences. Chetwynd never uses prefab materials: the outfits are sewn from cloth which she dyes herself using paint and salt, and masks and other accessories are made from latex moulds or cardboard. Her figures, such as The Mole, are humorously sympathetic and also slightly sinister, highlighting the moral dilemmas and fated plights associated with fanaticism.
Spartacus Chetwynd
The Stick Insect


Fabric, latex, cardboard, paint and plastic

220 x 60 x 60 cm
“Enthusiasm makes sense to me,” Chetwynd reveals. “My work is more like comedy or carnival rather than something that is professionalised; it has a fun rebellious energy. Humour is often marginalised, it’s underestimated how hard you have to work to get or keep your ground. My performances are really gestural and are not meant to exist afterward. I wanted to burn the costumes after, but really had to change my attitude. My heroes are the Marx Brothers, but I only know them off video. They bothered to make their fun, gestural, off-hand experience package-able, not in a dark way but in a way that people can enjoy afterward forever. It’s important to make an effort to make things that last so they can continue to communicate to people."

Other artists in

Caroline Achaintre    Tasha Amini    Hurvin Anderson    Maurizio Anzeri    Jonathan Baldock    Anna Barriball    Steve Bishop    Karla Black    Lyn. Yiadom Boakye    Pablo Bronstein    Alan Brooks    Peter Linde Busk    Carla Busuttil    Nicholas Byrne    Gareth Cadwallader    Juliana Cerqueira Leite    Spartacus Chetwynd    Steven Claydon    Clarisse d'Arcimoles    William Daniels    Matthew Darbyshire    Graham Durward    Tim Ellis    Tom Ellis    Richard Evans    Tessa Farmer    Marcus Foster    Robert Fry    Ximena Garrido-Lecca    Jaime Gili    Nick Goss    Luke Gottelier    Kate Groobey    Anthea Hamilton    Anne Hardy    Gabriel Hartley    Nicholas Hatfull    Iain Hetherington    Alexander Hoda    Sigrid Holmwood    James Howard    Graham Hudson    Dean Hughes    Des Hughes    Mustafa Hulusi    Paul Johnson    Edward Kay    Idris Khan    Scott King    Ansel Krut    littlewhitehead    Christina Mackie    Alastair Mackinven    Goshka Macuga    Ryan Mosley    Rupert Norfolk    Arif Ozakca    Mark Pearson    Dan Perfect    Peter Peri    Olivia Plender    Henrijs Preiss    Ged Quinn    Clunie Reid    Barry Reigate    Luke Rudolf    Maaike Schoorel    Daniel Silver    David Brian Smith    Renee So    Fergal Stapleton    Clare Stephenson    Systems House    Caragh Thuring    Phoebe Unwin    Donald Urquhart    Jonathan Wateridge    John Wynne    Toby Ziegler

Spartacus Chetwynd's Biography

Spartacus Chetwynd
Born 1973
Lives and works in London


Galerie Giti Nourbakhsch with Esther Teichmann, Phantasie Fotostudio, Berlin
Spany Chaffinche’s Film Festival, Studio Voltaire, London
Solo show, Massimo de Carlo, Milan, Italy
Help! I’m trapped in a Muzuzah Factory, Le Consortium, Dijon, France

Migros Museum (solo), Zurich
Galerie Giti Nourbakhsch (solo), Berlin
A Comedy of Errors (g/p), Artspace, Sydney
Sparky Chatroom’s Film Club, Studio Voltaire, London

Money – a Cautionary Tale, Art Basel Miami, Positions (Herald St)
Delirious, Serpentine Pavillion, London
The Fall of Man, Giti Nourbakhsch, Berlin

The Walk to Dover, new commission from Studio Voltaire, London

Born Free, Gasworks, November 2004
Bat Opera, Millers Terrace, London

An Evening with Jabba the Hut, The International 3, Man

Thriller, performance at Nerd, Electricity Showroom, London


Tate Triennale, curated by Nicolas Bourriaud, Tate Britain

A show of many parts, each part more spectacular and elaborate than the last, The
City Gallery, Leicester
Collection 1978 – 2008, Migros Museum, Zurich
Martian Museum of terrestrial Art, Barbican Art Gallery, London, curated by
Francesco Manacorda
Don’t Play with Dead Things, The National Contemporary Art Center of Villa Arson
The Skat Players, Vilma Gold

The Call of the Wild, Collective Gallery, Edinburgh
Plumbing Pipe...1...2...3, Creative Time, New York, USA
Stay Forever and Ever, curated by Andrew Renton, south London Gallery
The Perfect Man Show, White Columns, curated by Rita Ackerman, NYC

New Contemporaries, Liverpool/London
Year Zero, NGCA, Sunderland
Painting, Kate Macgarry, London
Alterity Display, Lawrence O'Hana Gallery, London
Besami Mucho, Ferrero Rochet Ballet, Hoxton Hall, London

The Call of the Wild, One Mile Program (residency,) Collective Gallery, Edinburgh
Action, FRAC Provence-Alpes-Cotes D’Azur, France
Herald St
Herald St, 2 Herald St, London E2 6JT, +44 (0)20 7168 2566 - -
Tate Triennale, curated by Beatrix Ruf, Tate Britain, London (cat)
L’Apres-midi d’un Faun, Eleni Koroneou, Athens

London in Zurich, Hauser & Wirth, Zurich (cat)
Bridge Freezes before Road, Barbara Gladstone, NYC (curated by Neville
Wakefield) (cat)
Do Not Interrupt Your Activities, RCA CCA, London (cat)
Think + Wonder, Museum of Childhood, London
Becks Futures, ICA, London (cat)
Dance of the Seven Veils, Cooper Gallery, Dundee
Inaugural, Herald St, London
Herald St & The Modern Institute Present, GBE, NYC
Other People’s Projects, White Columns, NYC

New Contemporaries, Liverpool/London
Year Zero, NGCA, Sunderland
Painting, Kate Macgarry, London
Alterity Display, Lawrence O'Hana Gallery, London
Besami Mucho, Ferrero Rochet Ballet, Hoxton Hall, London

Kabinett der Abstrakten, Bloomberg SPACE, London
Group Shows Are a Waste of Time, Hoxton Distillery, London
Vilma Gold Presents, Vilma Gold, London
The Golden Resistance, Tate & Egg Live, Tate Britain, London
Picture Room, collaboration with Goshka Macuga, Gasworks,
Chockerfuckingbloked, Jeffrey Charles Gallery, London
Babak Ghazi curates the fridge Magnifitat & Son, E

Atatque De Nervios, Hoxton Hall, London
Dusu Choi, Institute of Culture, Korea
Gatsby, Curated with Dan KM/ Tamsin Morse, New Lansdowne Club, London
Much Depends on the Viewer, International Apartment, Vienna
Kontakte, norwegianlady record sleeves, Neon Gallery, London
Evidence, Essor Gallery Project Space, London

Fat Pete and the Bowling Green, Charlie Wright's, London
6000 Square Foot Project, Young-Art, London
Club, Beaconsfield Gallery, London
Atelier Something, Springfield House, London
360, Roundhouse, London

Coal By Any Other Name, Stephan Dillemuth, American Fine Arts, N.Y.
Touché, Peter Harris collaboration, Andrew Mummery Gallery, London
The Open Drawing Exhibition, Cheltenham & Gloucester College
MA Creative Curating Exhibition, Thomas Tchushaus, Goldsmiths College

Exit, Chisenhale Gallery, London
Brainstorm, Goldsmiths College, London
Articultural Fair, Southbank, London

Honesty is The Best Policy, The A Gallery, London
Sparkle, ICA, London