A note on: Wrestliana event at Burley Fisher Books

I had a lovely evening in discussion with Toby Litt to marks the release of his Wrestliana book, pulled in gently as the resident writer who knows about wrestling. We chatted about lineage, melancholy, regionalism alongside the wrestling in front of an intimate audience at Burley Fisher which is a really beautiful bookshop with a deserved following on Kingsland Road. Nice to be asked to do these kind of events, talking wrestling and boxing, as they are resolutely hobbies for me now, but the first things I truly loved to do, so will always be part of me, and seem even more important and attractive now I spend most of my time doing writing things.

Worth getting a copy of Toby's book here, it's really ambitious and energetic. https://www.galleybeggar.co.uk/shop-1/wrestliana

A note on: Teaching Greco-Roman Wrestling for the Midnight run with the Almeida Theatre

Lovely to be a part of the Midnight run thanks to Kit Caless, teaching a session on Greco-Roman wrestling on the curated 12 hour walk through London, with lots of interesting activities featured in. Inua Ellams founded the project, and the whole thing was really well measured and a grandly positive experience. These beautiful pictures are courtesy of Katie Garrett.

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Reading at Kettle's Yard, before Gaudier-Brzeska

What a remarkable experience, to read at Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, this past May 13th, to share a panel with Dr. Sarah Victoria Turner and Professor Lyn Nead, to read before the original The Wrestlers relief by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and to be welcomed to speak about my first love, wrestling, the sport, as a lifestyle and practise. I had long looked forward to this event, building as it did from my previous collaboration with Sarah for the tate online, where I had the chance to write original poems in response to the relief. www.stevenjfowler.com/thewrestlers

I was given such a generous welcome by Dr.Jenny Powell, who had curated the exhibition of Gaudier-Brzeska’s work, and everytime I see Lyn, who is as an extraordinary thinker as she is a person, we are talking about our shared love of fight sports. Our wide ranging discussion covered the specifics of the relief itself but also wider historical context, with Sarah leading the way with an insightful talk. I mainly focused on the actual technique being shown in the relief and had a small impromptu demonstration on myself, before ending the night with a reading in the galleries themselves. A really memorable night.

Kettle's Yard: May 13th - on Henri Gaudier-Brzeska's the Wrestler's

So delighted to be reading & talking at the beautiful Kettle's Yard, alongside Sarah Victoria Turner and Lynda Nead, about the Wrestlers, the relief by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, that has been a real inspiration for me since I wrote about it a few years ago. May 13th in Cambridge.
http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk/events/modern-art-dance/

"An evening talk and performance exploring Gaudier-Brzeska and modern artists’ engagement with wrestling and sport. Join Gaudier-Brzeska expert, Dr Sarah Victoria Turner (Paul Mellon Centre) and poet and trained wrestler Steven Fowler. Art historian Professor Lynda Nead (Birkbeck) will chair the event. A viewing of the exhibition and glass of wine will follow the talk."

Festina Lente - fun was had with Zuzana Husarova in Paris

An awesome performance I had in Paris with the amazing Zuzana Husarova. A whole new section of my website dedicated to Festina Lente now, as it was the 2nd year in a run I performed. http://www.stevenjfowler.com/festinalente

Festina Lente 2015 - March 7th : Societe de Curiosities 

"Festina Lente is an extraordinary sound poetry event series and festival curated by Martin Bakero in Paris. I've had the pleasure to perform there in both 2014 & 2015, and it has really been a pivotal space for me to develop my performance art & sound poetry, and to meet, and collaborate with, a real community of European sound poets, from Maja Jantar to Julien d'Abridgeon.  

For 2015, Festina Lente was held at the Societe de Curiosities on the Rue de Cligancourt, and I had the opportunity to finally perform as a duo with Zuzana Husarova. The result was one of my favourite works, entitled Ibunka, it was a fusion of sound poetry, improvised language and anti-dance. 

Zuzana is about what I am about. She is forward thinking, discerning, works incredibly hard to develop expertise while always being hungry to learn and grow, and go outside of her comfort zone. Moreover she is funny and humble and a joy to work with. We developed Ibunka conceptually and then, in person, reconstructed it completely, to draw upon my background in grappling martial arts in order to facilitate a physicality in performance that was never violent, never overbearing or threatening, or overemphasising my maleness over her femininity. This is so so hard to achieve, and I believe we did achieve it, creating something playful, playfighting, energetic but still serious and considered. Her technical brilliance underpinned the work, for its first act and I'm sure it'll be the first of many times we work together, in our collective TRYIE, hopefully all over Europe.

I spent a whole week in Paris around this work, in a city I always find inspiration in but am not directly inspired by. It's scene seems ossified to me, hard to penetrate and institutionally divided, like elements of the city itself. It drowns in its own history, theory, beauty and poise. A heartbeat for my personal understanding of the city over these last two visits has been Martin Bakero, the Chilean sound poetry pioneer who curates Festina Lente, the most interesting thing I've been a part of in Paris by some way." 

The Wrestlers for the Tate

Happy to say my commission for the Tate has now been published online, as part of their In Focus series and thanks to the amazing work of Dr Sarah Victoria Turner, who has curated an extensive response to the 1914 Henri Gaudier-Brzeska plaster relief The Wrestlers, of which my work is only a small part.

There are ten poems, 9 for each cast of the relief and 1 for the original, as well as two short essays, one on the wrestling depicted in the piece and another on Ezra Pound, who was a close friend of Gaudier-Brzeska and a conduit between his work and my response.


Sarah Turner’s remarkable work on this project is immense, well worth checking out

The large plaster relief Wrestlers was made in London by the French artist Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (1891–1915) at a time when he was forging a reputation as one of the most radical and innovative sculptors of his generation. Gaudier-Brzeska was killed fighting in the First World War, and his achievements slipped from view in subsequent decades. In the mid-1960s, however, curator Jim Ede had the relief cast in an edition of nine to help make Gaudier-Brzeska’s work better known, and he gave a cast to Tate.

This project explores the circumstances of the making of the relief and the posthumous cast. Drawing on material in the Tate Archive and early twentieth-century sports periodicals, it includes previously unexamined material about Gaudier-Brzeska’s interest in wrestling and asks new questions about representations of sport and physicality in modern art and poetry at the beginning of the twentieth century.”