February 20 2010
Are you frustrated? Depressed that the Christmas season has passed? Is the economic downturn bringing you down with it?
If so, and you need to direct your feelings of disappointment and negativity somewhere constructive, Anthony Schrag has the answer. For one day only he will be your human punch-bag, because he wants to see you ‘smile and sweat’. Schrag is fed-up with culture that plays it safe and offers cerebral solutions. He is far more interested in making a direct physical connection with his audience, even if it means he ends up pinned to a wrestling mat.
The Zimbabwean- born artist, currently based in Glasgow, has made a career producing work that explores the body as a tool of communication and celebrates physical challenge. On his website you will find videos of previous works and will get a flavour of his very own flip attitude towards the intellectualisation of his practice. Perhaps the most extreme manifestation of Schrag’s work is his wrestling series, in which the artist invites all-comers to take him on in a single round of wrestling.
Schrag says, “I’m no professional, and there is certainly a sense of danger in letting strangers do what they will with my skinny little body, but that is what makes the project interesting: The trust and sense of reality between two people that only know each other as opponents. If I show contenders that I trust them, it is usually reciprocated – and there’s a referee on hand in case things get too rough!”
Schrag is glad to be bringing the wrestling series to Margate, where his fights will take place in a striped tent, which the artist is constructing in homage to Mr Punch. “For me, Punch is the symbol of joyful disorder: The moment when we lose our heads and reject the drab order and bureaucracy of the everyday. This is what I want the wrestling series to capture – a shared experience of when our minds become secondary to physical needs."
“Violence occupies an important place within history and mythology, but all too often (and especially in this current political climate) it is relegated to being undesirable, unwelcome, and base. We sometimes forget about its cathartic ability; as a great unifier; as a mirror to the common and raw beast inside us all.”
Click here for Anthony's website.