George Chakravarthi: Thirteen
1st floor Commercial Union House
39 Pilgrim Street
(opposite Tyneside Cinema)
21st February -21st March
Wednesday - Saturday 12pm-5pm
In a new partnership, Globe Gallery are pleased to be installing their first exhibition of 2015 in Vane, whilst relocating to new premises. Following its presentation at Impressions Gallery, Bradford, George Chakravarthi’s ‘Thirteen’ opens to the public on 21st February at Vane, First Floor Commercial Union House, Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, running until 21st March. It will then transfer to Globe’s new venue on the ground floor of Commercial Union House during April, accompanied by a series of creative writing workshops and talks focusing on suicide prevention in partnership with VOLSAG and Launchpad.
‘Thirteen’ is a photographic installation by London - based artist George Chakravarthi. Commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, to mark the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth the work portrays thirteen of Shakespeare’s tragic characters, all of whom meet their ends through suicide. Embedded in light boxes, Chakravarthi has created a series of powerful self-portraits, where he assumes the roles of some of Shakespeare’s most celebrated yet doomed characters: Brutus, Cassius, Eros, Goneril, Mark Antony, Othello, Timon of Athens, Lady Macbeth, Portia, Ophelia, Cleopatra, Juliet and Romeo.
Chakravarthi says of the project:
‘The portraits are multilayered and imbued with colour and texture, created to present my vision of each image and character, revealing the beauty, anguish and complexities found across Shakespeare’s tragedies.’
Chakravarthi worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company costume department to recreate his own identity, assembling key pieces of costumes for each character, with the aim of finding as much drama in the costumes as there is in the texts. Having been photographed in character, Chakravarthi layered each shot with textures and surfaces drawn from such sources as, lace, feathers, jewels as well as mould and cobwebs. The seemingly veiled images give a sense of distance between the figure and the viewer. The resulting jewel-like images are presented in a delicately lit space, referencing the tombs and monuments of the heroes and heroines of Shakespeare’s plays.
About George Chakravarthi
George Chakravarthi was born in New Delhi, India in 1969, and moved to the UK at the age of ten. Most of his work explores ideas of ‘selfhood’ and deconstructs socially accepted definitions of gender, sexual and racial identity within live, photographic and video performances. He has performed and exhibited nationally in venues including The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Site Gallery, Royal Academy of Arts, Tate Modern, Victoria and Albert Museum, and internationally in Germany, the Netherlands, and India. He completed his MA at The Royal College of Art in 2003 and currently lectures at The University of Brighton. Chakravarthi lives and works in London.