Ashley Peevor's Grass Men are expected to be an absurd performance | Eyeview
Eyeview is quickly approaching (7-16 June), so we caught up with Ashley Peevor, an artist and sculptor who is creating living, wearable sculptures that explore our relationship with nature. The ‘absurd’ performance takes inspiration from Ashley’s fascination of mythology, and turns the sculpture into a performance piece as a performer wears the living costume.
Here’s what Ashley had to say about his upcoming Grass Men performance for Eyeview (extra)ordinary.
“So like as a sculpture which they very much look like, when they're stationary, people interact with them very differently to when there are performance. And so there was something really nice and playful about that, like when does the sculptures stop being a sculpture and become a performance?
I originally was a fashion designer when I first left college and I found it quite limiting, when I was far more interested in pushing ideas and seeing how far you could take something. I was really fascinated with mythology and in mythology, there's always been this symbol of nature, like this human figure, this kind of symbol that can be used in the storytelling. I find it really interesting that we don't seem to have this figure anymore in contemporary culture, this sort of person for us to be able to understand our relationship with nature and so I started playing along with that theme and then I also quite liked the idea from my fashion background. I've been able to produce something that could be worn and also be a liveable thing. So that kind of illustrates this relationship between the person who wears it and the sculptural garden as an object.
I applied for (extra)ordinary, which is ran by Eyeview, and I was really interested in how the project was working across three different towns in Torbay and how it was involved in different communities and all the towns were very different. And I like this idea of the work that I could produce in each town would be very different and that's sort of linked into how we produce the project.
So I've got two groups, one in Torquay and one in Brixham, and they're both going to develop and grow their own heads. So they've designed them and then they're going to grow them and they get to pick the flowers that they want to use and we'll see if it will work on the final performances that we do and we're gonna bring those heads and the rest of the body, which I'm going to make, and we're going to create these absurd performances... So we're hoping that both of these two different groups who don't see each other will make two very different types of living costumes.
I like to think the performance is really absurd, so at first you don't really know what's going on. I find that a lot of adults really sort of turned into children around it. I've seen 75-year-old women hug and chase the Grass Man down to really get like a nice good breath of nature. There's something about that, there's something about when it comes to that tactile quality of it and the smell is really important, there's no smell like nature and it just really transcends everything else... transcends other types of costumes, but then equally it is quite an artificial experience and it kind of talks a lot about a way in which we interact with nature and the need for the spectacle nowadays.“ - Ashely Peevor, Artist, Fashion Designer, Sculptor.