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Bruce Lacey Experience: ICA Screening
Luke Turner , January 23rd, 2013 11:49

Plus Quietus Q&A with filmmakers Jeremy Deller and Nick Abrahams

"Eccentric" or "outsider artist" are too reductive as terms to describe the brilliance of Bruce Lacey, the subject of Jeremy Deller and Nick Abrahams' excellent and thoughtful film The Bruce Lacey Experience, which is being screened at the ICA this Friday. The film explores and celebrates the life work of Lacey, taking in his wonderful world as inventor, Goon show-collaborator, organiser of flying competitions, dispatcher of Barbie dolls into the rural sky attached to rockets, performance artist, magician, and anti-musician - there's a great scene where Lacey delivers a tuneless improvement of Oasis' 'Wonderwall' at a Vox Humana performance. He’s a Peter Pan, a confectioner of a life-size human jelly, a man who wanted to work with children, determined to "help them not become fossilised". As Lacey tells the filmmakers, "I feel in many ways I haven't broken off the first childhood."

For Lacey’s work was like a distillation of the good bits of hippiedom, the sense of performance and play being an important means of chipping us out of the strictures of society and confines of modern life. "Follow your instincts, your silly little fantasies, your whims, your dreams," he urges in the film. "You never know where they're going to lead you. Most of my life people have just said 'oh, that's Bruce Lacey, playing silly buggers, but I've come to the conclusion that playing a silly bugger is what life is all about'."

The screening is part of a two night run celebrating the work of Nick Abrahams. Tomorrow night, January 24th, there’s a screening of his films and music videos, including the award-winning Sigur Ros collaboration Ekki Mukk (tickets and info here). On Friday, January 25th The Bruce Lacey Experience screening will be followed by a Q&A with Jeremy Deller and Nick Abrahams hosted by the Quietus' Luke Turner - for more information and tickets, click here. You can also read our feature on the BFI DVD set The Bruce Lacey Rituals here

Oh, and without Bruce Lacey, we’d never have had a Throbbing Gristle. When the Quietus last wrote about The Bruce Lacey Experience, Chris Carter posted under the article thus: "Apart from the obvious (& well known?) connection to Bruce and TG with our Industrial studio in Hackney I lived with the Lacey family for many years in North London during the 1970s, and his son John introduced me to Cosey and Gen. Not a lot of people know that..." So there you go.

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