Nebachudnezzar's Howl 2007

24 Aug 2007 : Guling St. Avant-Garde Theatre & Taipei, Taipei City Shida Park , Taipei, Taiwan

Event : 2007 Taipei International Performance Art Festival. I was invited to participate in TIPAF by Watan Wuma. This was following a residency at Bundanon Trust in Australia and I had been studying the works of Arthur Boyd there. I was particularly taken by the Nebachudnezzar series, which also recalled for me the works of William Blake. So in the two performances for Taipei I attempted to bring that character to life. A kind of post-apocalyptic wild man. This was realsied in two different performances: one indoors using bricks, the other outdoors using a rope.

“Perhaps the most charged and challenging of Boyd’s work is the Nebuchadnezzar series produced between 1968 and 1971 about the ancient Babylonian king who captured and later destroyed Jerusalem. This spectacular collection of 34 paintings is said to have been inspired by Boyd’s witnessing of a self-immolation protest against the Vietnam war at Hampstead Heath, near his home. The series, which is permeated with intense anger, soars way above the immediate political issues posed by Vietnam to touch on many of the psychological themes with which Boyd wrestled throughout his career. According to Christian mythology, King Nebuchadnezzar was punished by God and forced to suffer in the wilderness for seven years. Boyd’s Nebuchadnezzar is a strange bewildered man, a fallen idol who transmutates into a toadlike animal and is forced to wander in a nightmarish and infinite wasteland harassed by lions and other creatures. In Nebuchadnezzar on fire falling over a waterfall, the most powerful image of the series, the fallen monarch shoots like a flaming comet over the Australian bushland. Each of the paintings exudes a deeply-felt, almost painful emotional rage, not just against war but vanity, hatred, greed and all other human follies. The depth of Boyd’s passion is expressed in the thick, almost sculptured layers of paint applied to the canvass.”

Project Details
Dates 24 Aug 2007 to 26 Aug 2007
Duration 20 minutes x 2
Producer Wang Molin, Body Phase Studio, Taipei, Taiwan
Category solo
Credits Watan Wuma, Curator ; Guling St. Avant-Garde Theatre : host organiser