Grand Opening Night: Thurs 5 Feb 2015, 7–10pm
1865 – Café Royal opens in Regent Street, London
1915 – The Moulin Rouge is destroyed by fire; Cabaret Voltaire is created in Zurich
1965 –Liza Minnelli makes her debut on Broadway
2015 –The Violet Crab at DRAF opens in Camden, London…
The Violet Crab at DRAF looks to cabaret past and present in new commissions, live acts and works from the David Roberts Collection, taking residence in an extravagant mise-en-scene designed and directed by artist Than Hussein Clark. The Violet Crab at DRAF takes cabaret as a situation for queering the inscriptions of time and space.
“The white cube of the gallery must no longer be so terrified of the black box of the theatre. Turning the spatial and temporal architectures of exhibition-making upside down, cabaret provides a narrative framework in which to rearrange hierarchies between subject and object and performance.
I think here of a series of protagonists: Kander & Ebb, two Jewish homosexuals who gleefully pen a new fascist anthem two-thirds of the way through their score for the musical Cabaret; Christopher Isherwood and WH Auden, on whose lucky escape to the musical and sexual underworld of Wiemar the same musical was based; and the French Fumistes without whose radical disdain for order the erotic incoherencies of Wiemar would have never been possible.
So like The Black Cat before it, The Violet Crab at DRAF opens its doors to questions of how the erotic, the melodramatic, and the tragic might satirise the rules of production in the present.” Than Hussein Clark
Than Hussein Clark dramatically reconfigures the structures and architecture of the gallery – from furniture (stages, tables, mirrors, curtains and screens) to concierge to printed matter. The exhibition spaces become cloakroom, bar, stage, backstage and shadow theatre to explore the dynamics of subject and object, attitude and identity. Commissions by other artists include murals by Allison Katz and Shaan Tariq Hassan-Syed, flower arrangement sculptures by Carter Mull, a video by Luiz Roque, with loans from iconic designers Claude and François Xavier Lalanne, a selection of paintings by Anj Smith, works by Cindy Sherman and jewellery by designer Frances Wadsworth-Jones.
Over sixty artworks from the David Roberts Collection are present including never seen works by Caroline Achaintre, Charles Avery, Hans Bellmer, Gerald Leslie Brockhurst, Felipe Jesus Consalvos, William N Copley, Enrico David, Andre de Dienes, Cerith Wyn Evans, Barnaby Furnas, Burt Glinn, Juan José Gurrola, Erich Hartmann, Ansel Krut, Roy Lichtenstein, Ludovico de Luigi, Susan Meiselas, Marilyn Minter, Helmut Newton, Julian Opie, Grayson Perry, Pietro Roccasalva, James Rosenquist, Niki de Saint Phalle, Jerry Schatzberg, Cindy Sherman, Anj Smith, Joseph Edward Southall, John Cecil Stephenson, Joana Vasconcelos, Andy Warhol, Paul Wunderlich, Emily Young.
Numerous live acts animate The Grand Opening in collaboration with science fiction writer Nina Allan, Anja Dietmann and pianist Fion Pellacini, Pierre Huyghe, dance artist Carlos Maria Romero, live draughtsman Isobel Williams, pole dance by Ayumi LaNoire, go go dancers and more.
The climax of The Violet Crab at DRAF in March sees a programme of artistic, musical, literary and acrobatic acts in DZ Hosts The Violet Crab – Nights of Cabaret at DRAF.
PLEASE NOTE: This exhibition contains nudity and explicit images and language, and is not suitable for visitors under 18 years old.
LISTEN to artist Than Hussein Clark’s audio guide to the exhibition here
The Violet Crab at DRAF is designed and directed by Than Hussein Clark; it is produced by Vincent Honoré (Director) and Nicoletta Lambertucci (Curator), with Dan Munn (Curatorial Assistant).
Than Hussein Clark (b. 1981, USA) is an artist who lives and works in London and Hamburg. He studied at the University of Edinburgh, Goldsmiths College, London and Hochschule für bildende Künste, Hamburg. Clark’s practice draws on architecture, the decorative arts, and theatre to reimagine the queer present.Recent solo exhibitions include Sessions (with Christiane Blattmann), 2014, Amstel 47, Amsterdam; Vengeance… Oh Libya!, 2014, WCW Gallery, Hamburg; and Waves (Das Glückliche Rothschild), 2013, Mathew, Berlin. Group exhibitions include There is Nothing Personal of Yours to Exhibit, 2014, Galerie Crèvecoeur, Paris; I Love You Me Either, 2014, Project Native Informant, London; Like A Virgin, VI VII, Oslo; and Life will be Frozen in Peaches and Cream, 2012, Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam. He is a founding member of Villa Design Group and sits on the editorial board of Montez Press, Hamburg. He is currently represented by Mathew gallery, Berlin.