Marvin Gaye Chetwynd

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Born Alalia Chetwynd
Nationality British
Other names

Alalia Chetwynd (Christened as)
Lali Chetwynd (raised as)
Spartacus Chetwynd (unknown to September 2013)

Marvin Gaye Chetwynd (September 2013 to present)

Marvin Gaye Chetwynd[1] (born Alalia Chetwynd, 1973, best known as Spartacus Chetwynd) is a British artist known for reworkings of iconic moments from cultural history in deliberately amateurish and improvisatory performances.[2] In 2012, she was nominated for the Turner Prize.


Chetwynd, who was christened Alalia Chetwynd, is the daughter of Luciana Arrighi, an Oscar-winning production designer,[3] and Rupert Chetwynd, a former soldier, author and aid worker in Afghanistan, who is a cousin of Viscount Chetwynd. Chetwynd studied anthropology at University College London (UCL)[4] before training as a painter at UCL's Slade School of Fine Art and the Royal College of Art.[5] She adopted the name Spartacus Chetwynd in 2006.[6]


Participating in New Contemporaries in 2004,[7] she was shortlisted for the Beck's Futures prize in 2005.[8] Her contribution to the 2006 Tate Triennial[9] was The Fall of Man, a puppet-play based on The Book of Genesis, Paradise Lost and The German Ideology.[6] In 2009 her work Hermitos Children was included in "Altermodern", the fourth Tate Triennial. The filmed performance was summarised by Adrian Searle as, "The young woman who rode to her own death on the dildo see-saw at the Sugar-Tits Doom Club,"[10] and described by Richard Dorment as, "Silly beyond words and teetered at times on the edge of porn – but once you start looking at it I defy you to tear yourself away."[11] Although characterised as a reworking of iconic moments from cultural history, Chetwynd's work has risked being seen as plagiarism and, in the case of a cat bus prominently featured in her performance work at the 2010 Frieze Art Fair,[12] copyright infringement.[13] The cat bus character appears in Hayao Miyazaki's "My Neighbor Totoro" and is copyright 1988 by Nibariki-G.

Her works are held in the Saatchi Gallery,[14] Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Zürich, the Tate,[15] and the British Council collection.[16]


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