David Hoyle, Gerry Potter-Poet, Darren Pritchard, Julie ‘Psycho’ Jones & Rhyannon
Walker Art Gallery, William Brown St. Liverpool, L3 8EL • Nov 11, 2012
As part of the Homotopia festival David Hoyle hosted Archetype at Liverpool’s extraordinary Walker Art Gallery – a grand Victorian edifice stuffed with incredible art and open to everyone. Over the course of an hour Hoyle introduced dance, music, poetry and comedy in grand surroundings and with breathtaking backdrops.
The event happening on Remembrance Sunday was something David Hoyle was particularly keen to extemporise on. This ‘celebration of brutality’ as he put it, and the dominance of the archetypal Alpha male’s philosophy as a mere excuse for fascism, contrasted sharply with the principle of art for all, art that could any day be sold to finance war and mass killing, and Hoyle lamented the current emphasis on carnage rather than creativity in our politics, our education, and our environment.
We were led by Hoyle into different rooms, bejeweled with bright pre-Raphaelite canvases, Victorian history paintings, Rembrandt portraits and medieval masterpieces, to be met with a performer in each. Rhyannon Styles created a repetitive-meditative piece of music and movement performed to a point of exhaustion, and Gerry Potter declaimed poetry celebrating the power of the effeminate male and the pleasures of a day on the lash. Darren Pritchard’s solo dance piece was thoughtful and compelling, questioning archetypes of identity and exploring notions of hiding and revealing. Finally, Julie ‘Psycho’ Jones’ comically and bitterly blurred the thin distinctions between archetype and stereotype – hers is a female identity not willing to be passive and pliant.
David Hoyle has created other events like this in some of the UK’s leading public art institutions and long may he do so. He gives his audience his own unique take on these spaces and their collections, whilst obviously having a great deal of love and respect for the work and the artists who created them. His very presence is subversive – just witness the looks on the face of people as he strides round in his stilettos – and yet he seems to fit right in. Catch him at a gallery near you if you should get the chance.