"Chaos is not the opposite of rhythm but the milieu of all milieus"
Deleuze & Guattari

Monday, 18 October 2010


This weekend I had the pleasure of working on Luigi Ontani's performance in the Serpentine's latest Marathon session - this time on maps.

Luigi's piece opened the weekend on Saturday at noon; a tableau vivant of artistic historical figures were represented, including Blake, Bacon, Byron/Shelley/Keats, Turner, Hogarth, Woolf, Defoe, Kipling, Wilde, Reynolds/Gainsborough, Beardsley, the Pre-Raphaelites and Handel.

The performers paraded from the Serpentine gallery through Hyde Park to the garden of the Royal Geographic Society, where they took their places in an artist's pallet that had been made on the lawn out of coloured flower petals.

Led by Luigi, wearing a Vatican-magenta hood and gloves with a gold caped suit and carrying a cryptic little sculpture with a pointing finger on a stick coming out of a camera, the performers wore exaggerated, super colourful costumes that we picked with Luigi, topped off with immense papier mache masks.

The Pre-Raffaelite character's headpiece was a pyramid, the design taken from a pyramid at the cemetary in Rome where three of them are buried. Hogarth's was a barrel... Woolf's was a lighthouse... Bacon's was a carcass... Beardsley's was a giant phallus that the actor had trouble keeping steady during the performance thanks to the breeze, and the fact that he was wearing a corseted dress and heels, which he miraculously bore without any whinging.

Once in place on the petal pallet, three short pieces of music were played by the oboist, dressed as Handel, before the group processed back across the park to the Serpentine.

'I tried to create a mirage,' explained Luigi afterwards. 'I wanted to make something very simple - it's always more complicated when the final result needs to be something simple.'