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Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Camshafts in the Rain, 2016. Performance view. Tatiana Feldman. Photo: Simon Vogel.

Marvin Gaye Chetwynd

Bonner Kunstverein

Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Camshafts in the Rain, 2016. Performance view. Tatiana Feldman. Photo: Simon Vogel.

Some sights are unforgettable. Marvin Gaye Chetwynd’s performance Camshafts in the Rain, 2016, produced several such sights, including beetle-like actors wearing enormous colorful paper turbans while stalking around the gallery with the mechanical motions of automatons and a seated Medusa whose head, fringed with giant snakes, rose as a handle was cranked, then collapsed back on her shoulders with a heavy thud. The action was punctuated by moments of silence when the turbaned figures stopped as though glued to the spot. The spectators present the production with the wide-eyed awe of children.

In fact, with its antique-looking painted-wood automata and the turban-wearers who turned their cranks, the scene recalled a circus or parish fair rather than a contemporary art institution. The comparison is not meant to be disparaging; on the contrary. Rather than looking down on this sort

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