This week, we welcome acclaimed artist Bobby Baker to Southbank Centre and Unlimited. In her career of 35 odd years she has, amongst other things, danced with meringue ladies; made a life size edible version of her family to be eaten by visitors, driven around the streets of London strapped to the back of a truck screaming at passers-by through a megaphone to Pull Yourselves Together and cured thousands of her pea patients with their many ‘unreasonable’ psychological and behavioural problems through her Therapy Empire How To Live.
We caught up with Bobby to ask her a few quick questions!
What do you fear the most and why?
Big question this. Falling over while I hang out washing – because I’m fed up with being in hospitals.
What – or where – is perfection?
It’s in our heads. For me at the moment perfection is being part of Unlimited – except for my dodgy knees.
Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
Currently Maxine Peake as Martha Costello in Silk – as a brilliant young ‘tortured heroine’ role model battling with ethics vs reality.
What’s your favourite ritual?
Making tea with a PG tips tea bag in the mug of my choice.
Which living person do you most admire (and why)?
Desmond Tutu – for his enduring integrity, and triumphant sense of humour
What other talent or skill would you like to possess?
Being able to teach my cat Roxy how to complete her training as ‘an accredited mental health professional’, so that we can finally open the financially profitable Clinic for Disordered Mammals that we’ve been planning for so long.
Tell us about a special memory you have of Southbank Centre?
We did Take a Peek!, Part 3 of the Daily Life series, here in LIFT 1995 – 20 shows in 2 weeks. The performances took place in an amazing installation on the terrace above Southbank Square. The show ended with me bathing naked in a bath full of chocolate custard, before being showered with multi-coloured 100s and 1000s by my fellow performers. We had great systems for clearing up. After every show I donned a huge black plastic raincoat and wellington boots so that Mark Storor (who was working with us at the time) could escort me to the RFH dressing rooms in the lift backstage. Sometimes the lift was full of people – they would stand in silence pretending not to notice the strong smell of chocolate, or us.
If you could programme your ideal Southbank Centre show, which artists (living or dead) would you bring together?
I would curate a contemporary re-staging of the amazing exhibition at the Hayward in 1997, Beyond Reason: Art and psychosis: Works from the Prinzhorn, alongside new national and international contemporary work and commissions.
Boy George, Nina Simone, Adele and loads of community choirs can be everywhere else.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
That the easiest way to change things for the better is to change yourself first.
What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?
Swing Low Sweet Chariot by the Morrison Welsh Male Voice Choir
What was the inspiration for your show at Southbank Centre?
Making a show that reaches parts other shows don’t reach
What’s next for you?
I’m working on a set of drawings about Paradise. And we at my company Daily Life Ltd are planning a major new digital artwork based in the East of London, Geography Dog History Cat. And I hope to do a 2nd F.E.A.T about ‘fight or flight’ in relation to the 1st World War anniversary in 2014. But I’ve got to get my dodgy knee fixed first.
Aside from your own shows, what other Unlimited events are you most looking forward to?
I’ve seen loads of great shows already as well as missed lots. I hope to fit in The Impending Storm and Ménage à Trois on Saturday, if there’s time.
Catch Bobby Baker’s Mad Gyms and Kitchens until Sunday 9 September as part of Southbank Centre’s Unlimited. Get tickets here.
Also, make sure you visit Bobby Baker’s free exhibition at Unlimited – Bobby Baker Diary Drawings – Mental Illness and Me which is open daily at Royal Festival Hall until Sunday 9 Septmember (10am – 11pm). More info here.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: Bobby Baker, Southbank Centre, Unlimited | Leave a comment »