George Chakravathi


1st May - 29th May, 2015

Thirteen is a photographic installation 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. 

Image courtesy of the artist 

Chakravarthi says of the


"The portraits are multi-

layered 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


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 veiling 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.

Artists Statement:

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, the Royal Academy of Arts, Tate Modern, the 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.