Magazine of art press and reviews from London
Transformer: Aspects of Travesty, at the Saltoun Gallery, London.
Aldous H. Brandisher – Sunday, 16th February 2014
“Transformer: Aspects of Travesty” is an interesting exhibition, at the Saltoun Gallery, London.
The exhibition is a commemoration organised to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original landmark show – which had the same title – curated by Christophe Ammann in 1974. This is the first such reunion of all the artists in London.
The exhibition “Transformer: Aspects of Travesty” focuses on the aesthetics of desire and sexuality through travestitism, cross-dressing and drag performance. The show has a 1970s style and works on display, of course, are coming from that period. It is interesting making a parallel from that days and the life we are living now in present days. Differences are obvious, more freedom today but contained by the fear of the big monster – the HIV- while at that time limits were imposed by the prude society. But also from these works emerges a strong will of experiment, a changing sentiment united to a new perception of the society. Gender roles were discussed in a debate to overcome sex barriers.
Works from all the artists present in the first exhibition are on display at Saltoun Gallery, London: Luciano Castelli, Jurgen Klauke, Urs Luthi, Pierre Moliner, tony Morgan, Luigi Ontani, Walter Pfeiffer, Andrew Sherwood, Katharina Sieverding, Werner Alex Mayer (alias Alex Silber) The Cockettes and Andy Warhol.
The original “Transformer: Aspects of Travesty” exhibition took its title from the seminal 1972 album of Lou Reed, finding its parallel in the worlds of fashion and glam-rock.
The original exhibition opened in Lucerne (Switzerland) and toured abroad. It was the first exhibition that tried to make a theory of travestitism and investigated non-normative sexuality and the construction of identity. It was a seminal event, influencing art theory and history, which didn’t have much support from the UK.
Was it worth to re-stage such an exhibition after so many years and in a more liberal environment? The answer is positive, according to Giulia Casalini, curator: “There is still a strong need of debate on the matter and this is the reason of this exhibition. I am focusing on organising events about queer, both in my country of origin Italy and in the UK”.
Exhibition “Transformer: Aspects of Travesty” is at Richard Saltoun Gallery, Mayfair, W1W 6RY, London, until the 28th February 2014.