Church Street


Wonderful Wednesdays: Richard Layzell - Psychosomatic

This show is for a seated audience. 

Tickets: Pay What You Can. 

Doors open 7.30pm, Show starts 8pm.

Psychosomatic is a new work by artist Richard Layzell, his first feature length film and his 101st performance, using material gathered over a seven-year research period including as creative ecologist based at LUX in Waterlow Park.

Psychosomatic follows an intuitive approach to ecology and art practice, where expectations are confounded and accidents become central to the narrative. As this unfolds, through the voice of Kino Paxton, a (fictional) maverick environmentalist, so does the incalculable grief and loss of First Nations peoples in their relationship to land and the natural world, with their holistic philosophy that predates the Deep Ecology of Arne Naess (Norway) and the Fragments of Heraclitus (Ancient Greece). Geographies linked to these two philosophers are also explored: the site of the first ever eco-action at Mardalsfossen and the birthplace of Heraclitus in Ephesus. A chance hearing of composer Hollis Taylor speaking on the World Service about the song of the pied butcherbird leads to a meeting in Alice Springs. Oranges drop from street trees in Selcuk outside a supermarket that has no oranges, while the two oranges left as offerings to Artemis at the temple should have been pomegranates. The slope elevates the automobile to a higher plane, up where the action is, and in Montreal the highway concrete crumbles and falls onto car roofs. 

There’s an enormity to the scale of this work that’s both impressive and absurd. And this reach was never envisaged at the start. Beginning in the back streets of New Malden in 2017 and concluding with a return visit to Ephesus in 2022, the film crosses five continents, and becomes a record of the artist as traveller, performer, photographer, and hearer of voices. 

Richard Layzell has worked with most of the major UK public galleries and museums. He is a writer, performer, sculptor, filmmaker and the author of Enhanced Performance (ed Deborah Levy) and Cream Pages (ed Joshua Sofaer). After an extended period as an artist in industry, in the role of ‘visionaire’, he fed this experience back into the public sector, working with many diverse communities nationally and internationally.

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