Bow Arts, London is delighted to present a mid-career retrospective by the acclaimed video and performance artist Cradeaux Alexander, taking place from 14 to 23 September 2018. Entitled Scripted Bodies, the show brings together 12 video works and recordings of performances created by the American-born artist from 2009 to 2018; alongside these, Alexander will present a new performance work, bluebeard (2018), in which he will inhabit.

Alexander’s practice explores the intersection between theatre and art, an elision he employs to mediate and comment on a broad range of sociopolitical concerns, as well as postmodernist takes on subjects such as pornography and self-representation. However, in many cases he reaches into history and literature for inspiration: bluebeard is an example of the latter.

In bluebeard, premiering on the show’s opening night and performed four times during its run, Alexander inhabits the character of the eponymous infamous wife killer, portraying him as the embodiment of corruption. The work is performed by an ensemble of 5, utilising video, live performance, visuals and original text. As with much of Alexander’s oeuvre, it is part theatre, part installation, and part absurd spectacle exploiting the strength of live performance to transform topical debate into a compelling aesthetic. Comments Alexander: ‘A monster, a killer, and a vain aristocrat, Bluebeard is seemingly easy to despise... How is such a monster allowed to develop? How has circumstance warped his worldview? Like Frankenstein’s Monster, Bluebeard is a fiend who repels the people he is desperate to attract; unable to find an authentic connection he turns to spiteful rage as a way of life.’

Many of the additional works presented engage similar strategies to bluebeard, with the artist channeling the language and persona of a character, using this as a point of embarkation to investigate the space between action and enacting. In adopting authentic and staged voices, and constructed and inherited forms of representation, Alexander, who as well as attending the Royal College of Art and Chelsea College of Art also studied at Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York, seeks to bring audiences to a new place of interpretation.

The exhibition, which will be displayed on HD screens and monitors arranged around Bow Arts courtyard, is comprised of video works and documentation of performances created by the artist through his production arm, LUXE.

Scripted Bodies is a timely exhibition. As a group of works in dialogue with each other, each seeks to consider the various modes in which language can operate. In the current political climate permeated with blunt grandstanding and easy division, they can be seen as attempts at reconfiguring the ground of language by adding nuance and questions around its truth, ownership, and provenance. The gap between ourselves and our represented selves is a space of particular significance for the artist, and the current climate of contested voices provides a particularly rich backdrop in which to play in this gap.