Wild Boy, a new performance installation. The artist will inhabit the Gallery for six weeks to enact the figure of Victor of Aveyron, a child found to be living in the wild in southern France at the end of the eighteenth century. At the height of the Age of Enlightenment, the discovery and subsequent failed attempt to 'civilise' Victor was a strong challenge to attempts to differentiate 'man' from animal, and debates about the role of civilisation and rational thought. Williamson considers the enigmatic figure of Victor and what his legacy to deaf people and culture might be.
The Showroom is pleased to announce that it has commissioned Aaron Williamson to make a new performance installation, Wild Boy. This will be his first solo show in London.
In Wild Boy Aaron Williamson will inhabit the Gallery for a period of six weeks to enact the figure of Victor of Aveyron, a child found to be living in the wild in southern France at the end of the eighteenth century. Twelve-year old Victor was the subject of an early attempt at experimental psychology. At the height of the Age of Enlightenment, the discovery and subsequent failed attempt to â€˜civiliseâ€™ Victor was a strong challenge to attempts to differentiate â€˜manâ€™ from animal, and debates about the role of civilisation and rational thought. More recently, as the subject of Francois Truffautâ€™s film, Lâ€™Enfant Sauvage (1969), Victor was portrayed as a heroic rejecter of civilisation, a romantic ideal regaining currency during the 1960s counter-culture.
Aaron Williamsonâ€™s Wild Boy considers the enigmatic figure of Victor and what his legacy to deaf people and culture might be? Wild children have traditionally been found to be blind or deaf (Victor was thought to be deaf but in fact, inside the forestâ€™s silence, he had lost interest in most sounds) and Williamson seizes upon this fact in order to make comment on his own experience of becoming profoundly deaf over the course of twenty years. In a world in which physical perfection becomes more and more of an ideal, and a future in which further biomedical intervention into the creation of this physical ideal is possible, Williamson makes a powerful comment on the history and importance of difference.
Aaron Williamsonâ€™s approach as an artist is formed around a desire to deconstruct the behavioural norms and orthodoxies of society. Through often purposefully irrational, unusual or even anti-social behaviour and action, performance can reveal how ideas of social rectitude are maintained. His work is driven by preoccupations concerning the way in which meaning is constructed and transmitted though language and the way in which hearing and gesture interact and define our relationships with one another and with the world beyond the perimeters of our own bodies. Wild Boy extends these preoccupations further by questioning the distinctions between individual and collective freedoms, and moral and sensual values today.
Aaron Williamson has created performances for exhibitions at the V&A Museum, London and the Banff Centre, Vancouver. His Lives of the Saints was shown at the Tate Modern as part of the Live Culture exhibition in 2003. Williamson is a past recipient of The Arts Council of England Helen Chadwick Fellowship (2001-2), and the Live Art Development Agencyâ€™s One to One Bursary.
The Showroom is financially assisted by Arts Council England, London Office.
Aaron Williamson is the recipient of a three-year AHRB Fellowship.
Tim Allen, Adelaide Bannerman, Claire Barclay, Jordan Baseman, Ã“lÃ¶f BjÃ¶rndÃ³ttir, Iwona Blazwick, Pavel BÃ¼chler, Chelsea School of Art, Paul Collett, Laura Emsley, ezppl, Peter Fillingham, Rose Finn-Kelcey, FlatPack001, Rebecca Fortnum, Eric Franck, Frieze, General Public Agency, Simon Grant, Jackie Haliday, Donna Jamieson, Ceri Hand, Margot Heller, Paul Hobson, Martin Holman, Claire Hooper, Jane Lee & Martin Hopkinson, Matthew Hunt, Sue Jones, Naseem Khan, Franz Koenig, Kate MacGarry, Lynn MacRitchie, Anna Milsom, Moose Foundation for the Arts, Grace Jane Muller, Paul Nicholson, Campbell & Mairi Ogg, Michael Oâ€™Pray, Maureen Paley, Andrea Phillips, Sarah Pulvertaft, Alison Raftery, Craig Richardson, Signwave, John Slyce, Simon Starling, Eva Tait, David Thorp, Transmission Gallery, Catherine Ugwu, Isabel Vasseur, Marc Vaulbert de Chantilly, Grant Watson and White Window are all actively supporting the work of the gallery by joining The Showroom's Friends Scheme.
Opening: 19 April 19.00 â€“ 21.00
44 Bonner Road
Wednesday â€“ Sunday 13.00 â€“ 18.00hrs