1980s kids might remember the massively popular satirical series Spitting Image, which mocked prominent celebrities like politicians and the Royal family as puppet caricatures: enter Margaret Thatcher cavorting around the cabinet office, telling off the ministers like naughty school children, and the Queen being forced to take up residence in a council flat during the recession.
As the General Election looms, the hilarious programme is being revived into a new six-part series called Newzoids, featuring contemporary personalities like a bumbling Boris Johnson, beer-swilling Nigel Farage and My Booky Wook writer Russell Brand.
James Hyman Gallery exhibition
When the original show was cancelled back in 1996, the fine art and photographer dealer James Hyman began to buy up some of the famous Spitting Image puppets for his private collection. Now the puppets are springing back to life with a little help from British star photographer Anna Fox and new kid on the block, Andrew Bruce.
Andrew Bruce & Anna Fox biography
For those that aren't familiar with her work, Anna Fox studied under the world-famous British photographer Martin Parr and her work can be found in important collections like the Tate and The Photographers' Gallery. She is best known for her 1980s images of everyday life in the mid-Thatcher years, and more recently you might recognise the 2009 series photographic series of Butlins in Bognor Regis. Andrew Bruce is an emerging photographer who has previously collaborated with Anna Fox, but also been making a name for himself with his meticulously staged photographs.
Be prepared for garish grins, saccharine colours and over the top frivolity at this show where Fox and Bruce have meticulously photographed the puppets of former Tory party members like John Major against neon backdrops. Now faded and worn, these tired puppets have become curious symbols of the past.
Fox and Bruce said: “Once we had them out of their packing cases, lying on the studio floor, the puppets looked broken, aged, decrepit and lacking any glimmer of life...At one point, Norman Tebbit’s head came off as if he was being decapitated by some unknown force. The glamour faded, the sheen gone. Failed characters abandoned in storage...These puppets, imbued with satire, represented our most significant politicians at their worst... Now, like all political fortunes, we are left with the remnants of a different age.”
If you are looking for a cultural event to whet your political appetite ahead of the General Election, this new photography exhibition is an absolute breath of fresh air.
|What||Anna Fox & Andrew Bruce: Spitting, James Hyman Gallery|
James Hyman Gallery
16 Savile Row, London, W1S 3PL | MAP
|Nearest tube||Piccadilly Circus (underground)|
22 Apr 15 – 08 May 15, Openings times by appointment
|Website||Click here for more details|