Companis: Bawdyville!

ARC at The Vaults
29 September 2010 6-9pm

‘Bawdyville!’, presented by Companis, takes you down into the Vaults for a selection of one-on-one performances and instillation that embrace the forbidden and ludicrous. If you’re tempted by promises of private lap dancing, exquisite chocolate truffles, furtive peeopholing and a quick hand job, then Bawdyville is for you.

Companis, meaning to ‘break bread with someone’ is a nomadic curatorial and artistic practice based in Birmingham. For five months they have been meeting in the home of Kaye Winwood, one of the founders, to have lunch and explore the notion of exchange and participation within contemporary art, often through humorous and subversive tactics.

Here at Fused we know that Companis can get down and dirty. In August we left behind the comforts of the office – kettle, comfortable chairs, roof over our heads – trudging into the rain to meet Companis who had invited us ‘Out to Lunch’. The guests met on a street corner and were led to the secret location, Grand Union Canal on Fazeley Street, Digbeth, where the Companis collaboration stood under cartoon umbrella’s mixing our drink in a bucket using “caustic soda” and bottles of “paint stripper”. We munched on “nuts and bolts” (silver plated nuts and Twiglets), “subversive subterranean subs” (spray painted baguette sandwiches), “canal water” (mainly warm leaf beet and spinach with a not so yummy multivitamin in the bottom) and were finally granted cake: “petite oars” aka French Fancies with sticks in that floated to us from a dinghy along the canalside.

Companis certainly made us think twice about traditionally normal foods, with guests declaring that the food tasted different because of its colour, despite the fact the food colouring had no taste, and pulling faces at the bitterness of the multivitamins we normally swallow so easily. This time though Companis are saying no to the nuts and bolts, indulging us with titillation, frolics and free cocktails. “Embrace the forbidden, the ludicrous and the desire to partake in naughty things with abandon!”

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