ItÂ’s clear from Marvin Gaye ChetwyndÂ’s name that humour and subversion are an essential part of her work.

When the artist was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2012 she was called Spartacus after the Roman slave and title character in the Stanley Kubrick film; since then she has changed her name to Marvin Gaye in honour of the soul singer. This playful challenging of expectations (they are both men’s names after all) and raiding of pop culture reflect her view that every part of life can be teased into art. These interests are also clearly displayed in Home Made Tasers, Chetwynd’s 15-minute performance piece, which has been acquired by the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery. The work takes the form of a dance performed by five actors around a large creature – the Brain Bug – which is inspired by the monsters in the 1997 film Starship Troopers. Three puppeteers animate the bug, which eventually consumes one of the dancers after she sacrifices herself. Chetwynd describes the Brain Bug as ‘like an animal in captivity [which] eats a few melons, sulks, is seen to make repetitive movements’. The New Walk Museum has acquired the costumes and soundtrack for Home Made Tasers, together with instructions on how to perform the piece. It is the first time a performance piece by the artist has been acquired by an institution. Chetwynd’s materials and craftsmanship are deliberately low-tech, an aesthetic which reflects the artist’s interest in pop culture, as well as pre-modern histories of performance, such as mummers, court masques and travelling players. For the New Walk Museum the acquisition marks an important supplement to its notable collection of German Expressionist art by providing a contemporary example of Gesamkunstwerk, or total artwork. As part of the recent refurbishment of the Expressionist galleries a new space for performance works provides a venue for Home Made Tasers, together with other live artworks, which the museum now plans to add to its collection.


The artist.

Back to top