031212: Kunsthalle Wien - XTRAVANGANZA Staging Leigh Bowery

Kunsthalle Wien XTRAVANGANZA Staging Leigh Bowery 19.10.2012 – 03.02.2013 Glamorous, more glamorous, Bowery By Nina Schedlmayer This creature with light bulbs hanging on a leather belt like extra-terrestrial earmuffs from its head is truly polite: “It was my pleasure”, it said to a BBC reporter thanking him for an interview. Prior to this, the wandering Gesamtkunstwerk declared: “I make myself.” The flamboyant disguises of Leigh Bowery, who died aged 33 of HIV, give evidence of his exuberant ingenuity, his devotion, interest in detail, courage and last but not least: his diligence. The Australian hung out at clubs in a kind of monk’s cowl appearing as a sequined dress that accentuated his belly and had an integrated mask. He strapped tulle around his head, balanced on almost meter-high plateau shoes and used so much make-up that his face was almost completely hidden behind a layer of colour. Glamour is an auxiliary word, Westwood and McQueen are nothing compared to Bowery and his effusive aesthetics. The slightly overweight performer and stage designer Bowery expended lots of productive nonsense: he stripped off his chequered clothes in a blue box, together with two others, intoning the falsetto Aerosmith classic “Walk this way”. Or he swaggered through the streets of New York in a rather undecided outfit – trousers on one side, skirt on the other – and writhed elegantly, quite like a worldly woman, in piles of hazardous waste. But it ‘s not exclusively fun here. The whole-body costumes, in which Bowery dressed for Fergus Greer’s photos, appear more like an oppressive enclosure, and those pictures in which he is awkwardly wedged into another figure, appear constrained. The two objects playing with Nazi images must be neglected. It’s better to direct ones attention to the cylinder floating from the ceiling with numerous Bowery references attached. Or to the costumes that appear to be dancing on a chessboard. Kunsthalle Wien 1070 Vienna, Museumsplatz 1 Tel: +43(0)/ 1/ 521 89-0 Fax: +43(0)/ 1/ 521 89-0 http://www.kunsthallewien.at Opening hours: daily from 10.00 – 19.00 hours

Kunsthalle Wien Museumsquartier
1070 Wien, Museumsplatz 1
Tel: +43 1 521 89-0
Email: office@kunsthallewien.at
Öffnungszeiten: Di-So 10-19, Do 11-21 h

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