Avant–garde cabaret artist David Hoyle presents RESPONSE a new performance in response to Putti’s Pudding and Rainbow Aphorisms. In this new work, Hoyle will create a beyond–verbal space which explores the terrain of illness through healing, sound and ritual.
Hoyle’s varied practice explicitly sits at the boundaries of performance art, post–drag cabaret, and political agitprop and is often focused on themes within the LGBTQ+ community, attacking what he sees as dominant trends in “bourgeois Britain and the materialistic–hedonistic gay scene”. He often combines disparate elements, from satirical comedy to painting and surrealism, exploring the curative nature of collective responsibility, through the celebration of different identities.
Hoyle is a live artist, who performs a cutting, outrageous, larger than life version of himself. He came to prominence in the 1990s as the Divine David, a kind of anti–drag queen whose lacerating social commentary was offset by breathtaking instances of self–recrimination. Following a couple of outré late–night Channel 4 shows and a cameo in Velvet Goldmine, Hoyle killed the character Divine David off during a spectacular show at the Streatham Ice Arena in 2000. He returned to TV screens in 2005 in Chris Morris’ Nathan Barley and began performing live again under his own name, retaining his trademark biting satire, bravura costumes, wicked comic timing and compelling charisma.
For this special, one–off performance, Hoyle will respond to the themes raised in Cookie Mueller & Vittorio Scarpati, Putti’s Pudding and David McDiarmid, Rainbow Aphorisms.
‘Putti’s Pudding’ is a book and ‘final project’ by American writer and actor Cookie Mueller, and her husband, Italian artist Vittorio Scarpati. Published in 1989, the same year both died from complications related to AIDS, it pairs drawings by Scarpati with writing by Mueller. Reimagined as an exhibition at Studio Voltaire, Putti’s Pudding features forty–five original felt tip pen on notepad drawings made by Scarpati when he lost the ability to speak, accompanying texts by Mueller, and a public programme of talks, readings, screenings and performance.
David McDiarmid’s Rainbow Aphorisms are a series of printed multiples, produced from 1993 until the artist’s death in 1995 of AIDS–related illnesses. These pithy textual observations are used to evoke the coded world of gay male subcultures in large western cities. The works employ an encoded camp and hip sensibility to convey ferociously witty messages, foregrounded by sugary colours. McDiarmid produced these works in response to his own, and his community’s, experience of the AIDS crisis, and the multiple forms of devastations it manifests –political, emotional, intellectual and medical.Whilst some works reference the virulence of tabloid newspapers responses to AIDS and become ironic statements, others are poignant and melancholic observations of the devastating effects of the disease.
Studio Voltaire, in partnership with Art on The Underground and This is Clapham, are presenting Rainbow Aphorisms as a series of large–scale public works across sites in Clapham and Brixton. Over the course of a year, artworks will appear at various locations including Brixton Underground station, the façade of Studio Voltaire, neighbouring LGBTQ+ venue Two Brewers, and other temporary locations.
Hoyle’s new performance will reassess the explicitly radical potentials Mueller, Scarpati and McDiarmid’s works as they relate to the representation and experience of illness, engaging with contemporary understandings of marginalisation, loss, and body politics. This live performance at Studio Voltaire is a rare opportunity for a wider public audience to experience Hoyle’s work first–hand.
Directed by Nick Blackburn.
Live sound by Richard Torry.
Lead Supporter: Rick Owens.
Commissioned in partnership with Art on the Underground.