The London born artist Joe Rush, founder of the Mutoid Waste Company is a living embodiment of the underground ideal.
Refusing the rules of the art market, he is a self-proclaimed “artist of the margins”.
Freedom-loving and faithful to his environmental, anti-consumerist and humanistic engagements, Rush, a genius inventor, builds his dreams with the significant waste of our post-industrial society. His artistic journey from the Thatcher years until today has been extraordinary.
In 1984, he founded the Mutoid Waste Company driven by an ideal of freedom embodied in an inseparable trilogy: the art, the parties, the road.
The Mutoid Waste Company was a punk, libertarian travelling arts collective of wild and subversive performers.
In the eighties, defying the Thatcher’s regime repression, they organized and staged legendary illegal rave parties with an apocalyptic aesthetics in London.
There, in derelict warehouses, disused factories and buildings, urban decaying environments that they occupied and mutated, Joe Rush introduced his “art of salvage”. Made of military and industrial scrap, his installations of spectacular rock n’roll machines and sculptures are the historical mirrors of our societies.
His museum, his galleries are the free parties the Mutoid Waste Company organises within Glastonbury Festival and everywhere in Europe.
From London To Berlin- in June 1989, in Görlitzer Bahnhof, he mutates the heavy artillery from the Cold War into a garden of sculptures of peace. A year later, with a Mig 21 stolen from the Russian army camps and planted in the No Man’s Land in front of the Reichstag, he would celebrate the end of the Cold War. From Paris and Amsterdam to Milan and Barcelona, the Mutoid Waste Company has influenced the European counter cultures.
Today, 35 years after his beginnings, just as humanity is entering the Anthropocene, a geological era defined by the ecological impact of human activities on the planet ( industrial pollutions, oceans of waste, deforestations, overfishing, toxic emissions…) in a neoliberal economic context of over-production and hyper consumption, Joe Rush, with his mutant, moving and poetic sculptures built on the waste of our consumerist society embodies yet again, a movement of Resistance.
From his helicopter-home, remnant of the Korean war, standing in the middle of a scrapyard, to the mechanical and monumental Phoenix performing atop the Rolling Stones concert stage; from the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games that he art directed to the fields of the iconic Glastonbury of which he is a creative director, his performances bear the mark of the creativity, freedom, anarchy, excitement, the fight and the repression, the subversion and the rallying power of a movement which became European and inspired Street Art.