Moth Man and Garage Pro Wrestling Live

Church Street, St Helens
8th June 2006

Reviewed by Gaynor Evelyn Sweeney

Visual artist Tony Knox was commissioned by St Helens Art Festival 2006 to produce a open air combined live art event, which was free to the general public on Saturday 8th July 2006. This was Mid Summers Madness and involved Knox - aka Moth Man, Garage Pro Wrestling and other performance artists, where contemporary art met popular culture respectively. Other artists included Ross Sutherland and George Lund. In preparation for this event, Knox was trained by Shock Wave Wrestling and Garage Pro Wrestling.

The show opened with the artist Sutherland adopting the role of the announcer. A Dutch wrestler with bulging muscles entered the ring. Sutherland introduced him as Marco Kodiak and accompanied by Heresy. On entering the ring, Sutherland ignored them and started to recite poetry about wrestling. The wrestlers not amused grabbed the poem and forced him to eat it.

The dysfunctional superhero Moth Man was up against Joseph Hays (undefeated for thirteen months) in the second bout. At the end of this battle, Hays' record remained still intact, while at most Moth Man wooed his crowd with his unusual antics. He was often being distracted by the ‘light’ and being adored by his fans who shouted ‘Let’s go Moth Man!’ in unison.

The open air event was attended by approximately 2000 people throughout the performances. There was a multitude of diverse matches, each with bewildering and awesome characters.

The audience were given masks by the Funky Chicken (Lund), who danced along the perimeter and distributed them to young and old. The audience members could adorn the masks and become the incarnation of Hays or Moth Man, the heel or the face.

The audience were submerged in an interactive arts event. The event was a complete success and enabled members of the public to experience contemporary art in the context of wrestling. All generations shared in this experience, chanting for their favourites and booing the baddies.

The next show for Knox is in the Independents district of the Liverpool Biennial 2006. He is currently researching and developing a new phase for Moth Man. This will be part of the Transvoyeur exhibition in September - October 2006.

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