The Green Room & Science Lab, The Panther Ejaculates, Uptight Upright, Upside Down, JABBA, I'M BACK! and Cocaine and Caviar—Monster Chetwynd gives her performances playful and often off-beat titles. Her colorful, imaginative costumes and props are all handmade, and her friends, her relatives and herself make up the cast. Her performance pieces include elements of folk theatre and street spectacle as well as plenty of scientific, literary and pop cultural allusions. Humorous, informal, improvised and unconventional elements are also writ large in Monster Chetwynd's work.
This kind of creative work generally defies any attempts to archive or eternize it. “My performances are exciting live moments that are difficult to document,” concedes Chetwynd. And yet this book seeks to do just that. “In looking at a printed survey such as this, however, the reader's energy builds in a way that is similar to witnessing one of the live events.” And this is indeed a book about building energy, solidarity and interconnectedness.
Full to bursting with photographic documentation and source material, this book graphically retraces Monster Chetwynd's creative years from 2007 to 2018. The photo series are framed by richly illustrated fanzines, mostly in English, covering each production, including references to sources of inspiration and cast lists.
Monster Chetwynd (ex Spartacus Chetwynd, ex Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, born Alalia Chetwynd in 1973) lives and works in London. She is known for her baroque and surreal performances which, with great humour, bring together multiple image quotations from art history and pop culture.
In the tradition of the grotesque she draws on elements from Giotto frescoes, characters from works by Hieronymus Bosch, or Yves Klein's Anthropometries (1960) together with heavy metal musicians, Michael Jackson's music video Thriller, or the 1980s television series The Hulk, and creates a unified whole. As already in Appropriation Art, in which alien artistic sources have been acquired, Chetwynd holds herself responsible for all elements of her works.
As well as performances, Chetwynd, who graduated from the Royal College of Art with an MA in painting, produced a series small canvases under the title Bat Opera (2004 - 2005), which also present quotations from pop culture, but in addition feature more romantic borrowings.