George Chakravarthi is a multidisciplinary artist, lecturing part time on fine art at the University of Brighton.
His work adopts alternative personae within live performances, photographs and video installations in order to explore gender, cultural identity and sexuality. What emerges is largely a series of self-portraits drawing inspiration from concepts of heritage, cinema and art history. He has performed and exhibited nationally and internationally with prestigious commissions including the RSC.
Multi-disciplinary artist George Chakravarthi has performed and exhibited nationally and internationally. He considers much of his work to be a series of 'self portraits'. As a multi-disciplined artist he draws inspiration from cinema, art history, fashion, photography, the personal, the collective, racial heritages and adopted cultures.
George Chakravarthi is a multidisciplinary artist utilizing and adopting alternative personae and strategies as a mechanism to reconstruct definitions of gender, cultural identity and sexuality within live performances, photographs and video installations.
Chakravarthi considers much of his work to be a series of self-portraits drawing inspiration from concepts of heritage, cinema, art history, public and private spaces and collective social and cultural histories.
He has performed and exhibited nationally and internationally from venues as diverse as The Site Gallery, Royal Academy of Arts, Tate Modern, The Victoria and Albert Museum, Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust, The Royal Shakespeare Comapny UK, Mousonturm, Germany, Kunstnanken, Norway, The Queens Gallery, India to museums and other public sites.
In 2003, Chakravarthi received a BBC/Arts Council commission to make 'Barflies' a triptych video installation examining the experiences of transvestites in bars and clubs played by Chakravarthi himself. The critically acclaimed work went on to tour nationally and internationally with a special screening at Tate Modern in 2006. The piece examined notions of identity within particular cultural and social spaces. The site-specific piece resonated the boom of live/reality television and the rise of CCTV and its effects on art, censorship and creative and personal freedoms. The soundtrack was made from recordings of conversations on a telephone chat line for transvestites and their seekers. The anonymity of the callers and their shifting identities, added further complexities to the work.
Artangel commissioned 'To The Man in my Dreams' in 2006. This project was part of Artangel Interaction's Nights of London series of artist-led projects exploring the city with the people who wake, work or watch over it. 'To the Man in My Dreams' was the result of a letter-writing game developed during workshops led by artist George Chakravarthi with members of SW5 (Terrence Higgins Trust), London's advice and information service for male and transgender sex workers. Contributions were requested from punters in Soho bars and readers of QX and Boyz magazines. The letter-writing process emerged as a form of imaginative role-play where identities can be swapped and recreated. The only rule is that each letter should be between 'Father' and 'George'.
Two events completed the project:
What is it about fathers? Chakravarthi in conversation with author-director Neil Bartlett. Chakravarthi talked informally with celebrated author-director Neil Bartlett about the project and its process, and discussed the questions it provoked around male sex work, father figures and the gay male psyche
Dear Father/To the Man in My Dreams: performance by Chakravarthi. Over the course of an ordinary pub evening, Chakravarthi wrote the last letter from 'George' to 'Father'. A live video transmission of the letter-in-progress was projected nearby. Members of the public were invited to watch as he wrote, read the collection of letters, chat to the artist and add their own letters to his archive. The work premiered in November 2006.
He has freshly devised 'Maxx Shurley's Speed Dating!' A process based event merging the etiquettes of dating and the processes of making collaborative art works. As Maxx, Chakravarthi aims to experiment with and generate new ideas, thoughts and debates concerning identity, multiculturalism and art practices and the fissures between fine art and live art.
More recently, Chakravarthi was commissioned by The Royal Shakespeare Company for Thirteen, a photographic installation. Specifically conceived for the RSC’s Swan Room, the work revealed thirteen of Shakespeare’s tragic characters all of whom meet their ends through suicide. Created as a series of powerful self-portraits embedded in light boxes, Chakravarthi assumed the roles of some of Shakespeare’s most celebrated yet doomed characters: Brutus, Cassius, Eros, Goneril, Mark Antony, Othello, Timon, Lady Macbeth, Portia, Ophelia, Cleopatra, Juliet and Romeo.
He has been has been commissioned by the BBC, Artangel, The Arts Council of England, The British Council, The National Review of Live Art, SPILL Festival of Performance, Duckie and The Royal Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust.
As 'Thinker in Residence' Maxx Shurley (George Chakravarthi) is working with the Live Art Development Agency to stimulate debate around the meanings of the terms 'Live Art' and 'Cultural Diversity' and researching new curatorial strategies to represent and reflect these issues. As part of his 'Thinker in Residence' programme, Maxx developed the concept of a project based on Speed Dating which was piloted with a small group of artists in July 2005.
A list and details of works can be found on George Chakravarthi's artist website http://www.georgechakravarthi.com/work/