Performance art gets punchy

Designers and celebrities were shocked last week when what they had mistaken for a piece of live performance art at the opening of a London exhibition turned out to be a real live punch-up.

Through the Looking Glass was part of a collaboration between Red Fig, which specialises in fusing technology and culture, art presentation company Jibby Beane, architect McMahon & Curtis and sponsor Channel 4.

It aimed to draw attention to Jibby Beane’s project to present five exhibitions a year by “emerging and mid-career artists”, starting next year, and involved projecting art on to the exterior of Jibby Beane’s St John Street site.

The fight proved things had got off to a good start, according to architect Nick McMahon. “There was obviously a discussion going on,” he says. Then a punch was thrown and a man fell over.

But that was only the beginning. The injured party’s girlfriend then explained to the victor, “I’m going to have to head-butt you now.” And, says McMahon, she was true to her word.

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