"Bringing Brian Catling to New York is like importing a high-grade virus. The city will never recover." (Iain Sinclair)
"Brian Catling's performances, writings and curations offer sardonic poignancy, vivid melodrama and shocking discomforts. He is straight-faced, enigmatic and twinkling, projecting a presence somewhere between hilarity, menace and madness." (Nick James, editor of Sight and Sound)
British Council USA is pleased to support the first US presentation of Brian Catling, a firm fixture in the London cult underground art world. The Colloquium is curated by British writer Sukhdev Sandhu, Associate Professor of English, Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU and one of our favourite cultural contributors to The Guardian.
Both events are free and open to the public. Refreshments provided.
ONLY THE LOWLY – Brian Catling's first-ever U.S. performance
Monday April 28, 2014, 6:30 – 7:30 pm
Third Streaming, 2nd Floor, 10 Greene Street [between Greene and Canal]
Descriptions of Brian Catling's unforgettable performances are impossible.
Catling makes complex durational performances that unfurl over hours and days. He also unleashes shorter more dangerous manifestations that are described and mutated by their brief flarings of atmosphere and intensity.
VANISHED! A VIDEO SEANCE
Dir. Brian Catling and Tony Grisoni,
1999, 69 min.
Followed by conversation between Catling and Adrian Heathfield
Tuesday April 29, 2014, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Department of Cinema Studies, NYU, 721 Broadway [between Broadway and Waverley Place], Room 670
In 1932, a family living in an isolated house on the Isle of Man – the elderly James and Margaret Irving, and their daughter Voirrey – received their first visitation from a mysterious spirit. Its name was Gef, and it took the form of a talking mongoose with yellow human hands.Was Gef a cryptid? A poltergeist? A hoax? Vanished!, a collaboration between Catling and Tony Grisoni (Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, Red Riding trilogy), is a genuinely eerie work, rippling with dark sexuality, eldritch fantasy and clammy claustrophobia, in the tradition of British hauntologists such as M.R. James and Nigel Kneale.
Following the screening there will be a wide-ranging conversation between Catling andAdrian Heathfield. Heathfield is a writer and curator working across the scenes of live art, performance and dance. He is best known for his books which include Perform, Repeat, Record: Live Art In History, and Out Of Now: The Lifeworks of Tehching Hsieh. He co-curated the Live Culture events at Tate Modern in 2003, was co-director of Performance Matters (2009-2014), and is currently Marie Curie International Fellow at Columbia University where he conducts a project called Curating The Ephemeral.
BRIAN CATLING (b.1948) is one of the most singular artists operating in Britain today. Since the early 1970s he has been a brilliant, demented magus, moving between sculpture, performance, video art and latterly novel-writing; mining a personal mythology once characterized as "bomber pilots, natural history field studies, architectural excavations, fairground freaks, Dutch interiors, forensic anomalies, star charts, London, Maria Callas", and producing a ferocious, fantastical, blackly comic body of work that represents, in the words of the critic Ian Hunt, a collective "tirade against the ossification of practices and actions into roles and careers."
Alan Moore, author of Watchmen and V For Vendetta, hailed Catling's recently published novel The Vorrh as a "phosphorescent masterpiece": "One of the most original and stunning works of fantasy that it has ever been my privilege to read, a brilliant and sustained piece of invention which establishes a benchmark not just for imaginative writing but for the human imagination in itself. After investigating otherworlds of fantasy, exquisite little rock-pools with their own miniature ecospheres, The Vorrh is like a first experience of the ocean."
BRIAN CATLING has performed and exhibited widely across the world. But he has never performed in the USA. The Colloquium for Unpopular Culture, with the support of the British Council in New York, is proud to be organising a range of talks, screenings, performances and conversations with this magnificent shaman. To mark his visit, the Colloquium will also be issuing a very limited-edition and rather off-piste publication by Catling entitled Unvanished!
Queries and more info: Email Sukhdev