The Bruce Lacey Experience

The weather turned out to be beautiful on Saturday, so I headed up to Hampstead for a wander, and to see the Bruce Lacey Experience at Camden Arts Centre.

“No artist should live in an Ivory Tower of aesthetics. The Artist should be at grips with his life, with the essence of life, not it’s superficial visual manifestations. He shouldn’t just be stimulating man intellectually, or emotionally, like a love potion or a panacea, for purely aesthetic motives. It should instead be awakening his conscience and his awareness of life as it is and what it is going to be, as we move forward to a very frightening future, where man’s very individuality and personality may be lost. It is the artist who must have his finger on the pulse to safeguard us all. For if he doesn’t, no one else will.” Bruce Lacey, 1964.

The comprehensive retrospective documents Lacey’s career – which spans five decades – and features many of his characteristic robots, such as ‘Boy, oh boy, am I living!’ (above), and Rosa Bosom, Lacey’s flirtatious femme bot who won Andrew Logan’s Alternative Miss World competition in 1985.Fragments of Bruce Lacey’s life are also on display, from photographs and clothes, to anecdotes and notes. A hand-written notice invites passersby into the Lacey family home to join them for tea and watch Tarzan, and when Lacey recalls his childhood, it sounds so quintessentially British and fun, with trips to the seaside and fancy dress parties being a regular occurrence. I loved the post box dress! It’s such a frivolous piece of clothing, and looks like it could come straight out of a collection by The Rodnik Band or Jeremy Scott. Anyone who knows me personally, or regularly reads this blog, probably realises how much I’m into psychedelia and gig posters from the sixties. Naturally, I loved this collection of archival posters advertising Bruce Lacey’s past shows and exhibitions.

The current exhibition finishes on September 16th, but that means you still have just under a week left to catch it, and Camden Arts Centre is open until 9pm on Wednesdays. Go, go, go!

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