Brian Chalkley.

Book launch at Chelsea College of Art


He was interviewed at Chelsea College dressed as Dawn. I was told that he likes to dress for fun and not because he is a cross dresser, as if doing a performance. This taught me that as an artist you cannot define who you are. There is no fixed identity. I can see from his paintings that he combines so many characters together. He plays many roles. He paints rooms in his new book 'Dawn in Wonderland and other stories', with strict forms and he cannot be abstract. He has to follow the strict rules of perspective of drawing a room, with the right angles and lines to denote the walls and the floor and the ceiling and the furniture, but when you look at the characters in the rooms they are all doing things that are not normal and are shocking to the viewer. This is his way of rebelling against the strict ideas of identity and how we should be.


He showed videos of his nightlife with cross dressers and he was not self conscious dressing up in front of all his students and audience. He is maybe trying to show something different. Like the "uncanny" that Freud talks about. That if you show something is different then people will get used to it and then it will be acceptable in the future.


Also in Judith Butler's says that "performance" is the way to show the variety of gender identities and after the performance it becomes less  different and normal.

I really relate to this idea of "undoing gender" because it is about talking about the society and the individual identity. I am researching my own identity and I feel that it is troubled because of how you feel about yourself and then how society sees you are different and a pressure. And different genders is the reality of society, but society only talks about fixed ideas of male and female as normal and this makes other real things abnormal. But this is not the reality. This makes it harder for people to find their true identity.


I care about the individual's identity within the society. so the relationship between the individual and society is always the theme that I am interested in. Marina Abramovic said in an article "It's important that performance art becomes mainstream. You can get the worst out of people, and you can get the best out of people from these pieces. Good performance art is transformative, it can really change your life." And it is true. After I saw Brian Chalkley I felt really moved and encouraged afterwards. I feel changed because of this experience. Performance art is really powerful.

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