Eastside Projects is finally revealed as a ‘puppet state’ or ‘marionette government’. The art
organisation has been taken over by little ‘creatures’, marking what could well be a latent
The power of puppets lies in their potential for performative as well as sculptural articulation,
as constructed selves and bodies, that have the faculty to speak through someone else’s
voice, and are made of parts. Unlike humans who require an internal capacity for voice,
language, movement and intention, puppets channel external forces in order to form
presence, speech, and authorship. In this way puppets nullify the status of both objects
and subjects and the related problems that are commonly associated with human societies.
These superior operational qualities will be fully deployed in Puppet Show, in order to create
precisely unauthentic conditions.
Puppet Show is populated by impersonators, impostors, and transvestites — by ultimately
dubious characters that are used to criticise, debase, mock, undermine or protest in the place
and voice of others. Puppets reveal their ultimately political role in this faculty to re-present,
much like democracy is representative. During Puppet Show, Eastside Projects has been
possessed in order to come to life, and speak what cannot be said through the mouthpiece of
its puppet population — reversing the role of puppet and puppeteer. Puppet Show in this way
exposes the animal and the natural worlds, architecture, music, education, entertainment and
death, all subjects analyzed through their possible revolution.
Puppet Show includes Edwina Ashton’s ongoing work with dour gormless creatures who
undertake the partial or total destruction of Eastside Projects; Simon Popper’s zoomorphically
possessed painted objects; a critique of wilderness versus civilisation orchestrated by
Spartacus Chetwynd; Geoffrey Farmer’s revelation of a small-scale rebellion in an abandoned
institution; Pasolini’s analysis of humanity’s historical denial of its strings; Heather & Ivan
Morison’s on the construction of the self and that of natural and cultural histories; Pedro
Reyes’ embodied counterfactual debate between capitalism and socialism; the growth of
extreme political and economic conservatism as observed by rock band Japanther; Pierre
Huyghe’s architecture against architecture; souvenirs from Simon Starling’s ‘expedition’ with
boats and transplanted buildings; and Jirí Trnka’s meditation on the struggle for creative
freedom, all set to the rhythm of Calder’s circus through the lens of Painlevé.
Puppet Show is part of a series of group exhibitions and productions within Eastside Projects
that examine modes of display and the construction of a public sphere. The series started
with ‘This is the Gallery and the Gallery is Many Things’ in 2008, followed by ‘Sculpture Show’
and ‘Abstract Cabinet Show’ in 2009, ‘Curtain Show’ and ‘Book Show’ in 2010, ‘Narrative
Show’ in 2011, and ‘Painting Show’ in 2012. Each project invites new curatorial and artistic
voices to effect change upon the existing conditions of Eastside Projects and aims to impact
on artist practice further afield.
Puppet Show is curated by artists Tom Bloor and Céline Condorelli.
Eastside Projects, 86 Heath Mill Lane, Birmingham B9 4AR, UK
Tel. 0121 771 1778 / http://www.eastsideprojects.org
Free entry, open Wednesday to Saturday 12–5pm
Eastside Projects is a not for profit company limited by guarantee 6402007
An Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation in partnership with B