Marvin Gaye Chetwund: Ze & Per at Sadie Coles, Kingly Street

Screenshot 2018-03-05 11.56.14Marvin Gaye Chetwynd is well known for her carnivalesque and high octane performance work. Formerly known as Spartacus, she says that  now she is going to stick with Marvin Gaye: I wonder? Her papier mache playschool  props have become her trademark but instead of flowing into every corner of the available space, they are now additions to large scale digital prints. A fairy painting by Richard Dadd plays host to a three dimensional bat, with webbed  and protruding wings. This bat is kind of cuddly but with noticeably vampiric teeth. Other creatures with wildly askew teeth hang limply across the surface of a print of pink cockatoos.  One painting Moray Eel and Staff  has a different feel. The child wearing the mask and clutching the eel is almost Bauhaus and the picture is permeated by a sense of foreboding, absent from the crazy antics of other works. In my opinion this is the most interesting work in the show and it is the one I would choose if I could buy one.


The works are clearly saleable in contrast to the performance work which made her reputation. Some people may disapprove of this show for this reason. But it is a mistake to judge this work solely as an attempt to be commercial. It is easy to see why it is fashionable but you also need to appreciate the idiosyncratic nature of her talent. Bringing a smile to the face of the average gallery goer is not an easy task.

Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Ze & Per at Sadie Coles, 62 Kingly Street 22 February – 7 April

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