07 August 2012

Trials and tribulations at The Cob Gallery

Written by Published in Art & Culture

In The Show Trial of Mark Kennedy & Mark Stone, artist Simon Farid interprets this unique story through video installation and live performance art. Television screens throughout the exhibition relay intimate interviews with Kennedy dressed both as himself and as Mark Stone alongside one another. The walls of the gallery are papered with newspaper articles methodically charting a legacy of one of the most fascinating deceptions in our collective memory

For seven years policeman Mark Kennedy lived a double life. Trading identities, he went undercover as ‘Mark Stone’, a fictionalized activist and in the process successfully infiltrated political and environmental groups across Europe, throughout 11 different countries. Kennedy’s alias grew to have a romantic altrelationship with a female activist until his cover began to unravel. 

Cramped together with certain sections illuminated by a coarse yellow highlighter, the middle of the room displays transcriptions of interviews Farid took with people in relation to the Kennedy case. Ring bound files next to them contain even more newspaper cuttings. Like walking into the office of an investigation, it is a piece of theatre in itself. Farid’s work explores the perennial themes of identity construction, our power to author our own reality, the symbiotic relationship between fact, fiction and the univocal nature of our social archetypes. Questions are raised about the ethics of deception and the enduring power play of the institution over the individual.

The video installation sets the scene for the exhibitions climax, the show trial. This mock trial is an experimental and theatrical response to Mark Kennedy’s story. Imitating Kennedy’s own deceptions, the trial itself blurs the line between the real and the imagined, playfully toying with audience’s modes of seeing. Evidence cited in the piece is both real and speculative and the people that feature are a mix of actors and people who were involved in the real life case. In this piece of dynamic performance art Kennedy is charged with crimes against love, abuse of authority and of not having a self.

Simon Farid graduated from Central St Martins in 2009 and in the three short years  since he has been a resident artist at Crescent Arts in Scarborough, held an arts  council funded solo-show at Crescent Arts, as well as featuring in multiple group shows  around the country. alt

The Show Trial performance will commence on Friday the 10th of August from 6-9 pm.  

The Show Trail of Mark Kennedy & Mark Stone is debuting at The Cob Gallery in Camden Town. The exhibition is open daily from the 3rd to the 10th of August, 12-6 pm.

The Cob Gallery, 205 Royal College Street, London, NW1 0SG



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