April 12, 2005 - The Showroom - Aaron Williamson – Wild Boy
April 12, 2005

Aaron Williamson – Wild Boy

Aaron Williamson: Wild Boy
20 April – 29 May 2005

Opening: 19 April 19.00 – 21.00hrs
Gallery talk with Laurence Harvey: 7 May 16.00hrs

The Showroom
44 Bonner Road
T +44 (0)20 8983 4115
F +44 (0)20 8981 4112
tellmemore [​at​] theshowroom.org
Wednesday – Sunday 13.00 – 18.00hrs


The Showroom is pleased to announce that it has commissioned Aaron Williamson to make a new performance installation, Wild Boy. This will be his first solo show in London.

In Wild Boy Aaron Williamson will inhabit the Gallery for a period of six weeks to enact the figure of Victor of Aveyron, a child found to be living in the wild in southern France at the end of the eighteenth century. Twelve-year old Victor was the subject of an early attempt at experimental psychology. At the height of the Age of Enlightenment, the discovery and subsequent failed attempt to ‘civilise’ Victor was a strong challenge to attempts to differentiate ‘man’ from animal, and debates about the role of civilisation and rational thought. More recently, as the subject of Franois Truffaut’s film, L’Enfant Sauvage (1969), Victor was portrayed as a heroic rejecter of civilisation, a romantic ideal regaining currency during the 1960s counter-culture.

Aaron Williamson’s Wild Boy considers the enigmatic figure of Victor and what his legacy to deaf people and culture might be? Wild children have traditionally been found to be blind or deaf (Victor was thought to be deaf but in fact, inside the forest’s silence, he had lost interest in most sounds) and Williamson seizes upon this fact in order to make comment on his own experience of becoming profoundly deaf over the course of twenty years. In a world in which physical perfection becomes more and more of an ideal, and a future in which further biomedical intervention into the creation of this physical ideal is possible, Williamson makes a powerful comment on the history and importance of difference.

Aaron Williamson’s approach as an artist is formed around a desire to deconstruct the behavioural norms and orthodoxies of society. Through often purposefully irrational, unusual or even anti-social behaviour and action, performance can reveal how ideas of social rectitude are maintained. His work is driven by preoccupations concerning the way in which meaning is constructed and transmitted though language and the way in which hearing and gesture interact and define our relationships with one another and with the world beyond the perimeters of our own bodies. Wild Boy extends these preoccupations further by questioning the distinctions between individual and collective freedoms, and moral and sensual values today.

Aaron Williamson has created performances for exhibitions at the V&A Museum, London and the Banff Centre, Vancouver. His Lives of the Saints was shown at the Tate Modern as part of the Live Culture exhibition in 2003. Williamson is a past recipient of The Arts Council of England Helen Chadwick Fellowship (2001-2), and the Live Art Development Agency’s One to One Bursary. For further information please contact Kirsty Ogg or Bridget Crone at The Showroom on 020 8983 4115.

On Saturday 7 May at 16.00hrs Laurence Harvey will present a gallery talk at The Showroom on Aaron Williamson’s practice.

The Showroom is financially assisted by Arts Council England, London Office.

Tim Allen, Adelaide Bannerman, Claire Barclay, Jordan Baseman, Olof Bjorndottir, Iwona Blazwick, Pavel Buchler, Chelsea School of Art, Paul Collett, Laura Emsley, ezppl, Peter Fillingham, Rose Finn-Kelcey, FlatPack001, Rebecca Fortnum, Eric Franck, Frieze, General Public Agency, Simon Grant, Jackie Haliday, Donna Jamieson, Ceri Hand, Margot Heller, Paul Hobson, Martin Holman, Claire Hooper, Jane Lee & Martin Hopkinson, Matthew Hunt, Sue Jones, Naseem Khan, Franz Koenig, Kate MacGarry, Lynn MacRitchie, Anna Milsom, Moose Foundation for the Arts, Grace Jane Muller, Paul Nicholson, Campbell & Mairi Ogg, Michael O’Pray, Maureen Paley, Andrea Phillips, Sarah Pulvertaft, Alison Raftery, Craig Richardson, Signwave, John Slyce, Simon Starling, Eva Tait, David Thorp, Transmission Gallery, Catherine Ugwu, Isabel Vasseur, Marc Vaulbert de Chantilly, Grant Watson and White Window are all actively supporting the work of the gallery by joining The Showroom’s Friends Scheme.

The Showroom
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