THE THEATRE OF WASTE                      

The Ballroom, Fulham Town Hall

 May 2021

 

Artist Joe Rush's “ Theatre of Waste ” is the stage on which the dramas, tragedies, farces and ballets of the scrap pile's imaginary world are played out using sound and lighting. In these poetic tableaux, these sometimes pastel-painted settings, come to life characters that are surreal and moving, graceful or satirical. All are born of the historical, mechanical and military remains of our post-industrial society. 

 

It is in the scrap pile, this chaotic mass where are crammed the damaged that will never be repaired, the unfashionable, the surplus that won’t find a place, the unused, the useless, that the sculptor Joe Rush accidentally discovers his characters.

Among these metal fragments, he recognizes the bodies and faces that have become the heroins and heroes of his “ Theatre of Waste ”. 

 

These playlets ("Brothers in Arms", "Joan (Jeanne)", "The Little Dancer", "L'Etoile", "In Flanders Fields", "... It tolls For Thee", "The Last Ape" etc...), each staged in its own theatre, deal with themes such as war, friendship, love, dance, the Sixth mass extinction, but also boxing and the phantasmagorical worlds of the jungle and the deep sea.

 

Rush’s surrealist and poetic works, at times tragic or comic, are the historical mirrors of a civilization which, by dint of over-consumption, is in danger of collapse.

In the centre of the Ballroom, an empty fisherman's boat, defying the laws of gravity, floats eternally above a pile of bones belonging to those who set sail to escape war, hunger and misery in plundered and ravaged countries. Those who left and never arrived.