‘Cripps is an underground figure whose work is currently being reignited by a generation interested in his approach to making and showing work’ (Dazed Digital www.dazeddigital.com)
The oeuvre of British artist, Stephen Cripps (1952–1982) was highly innovative and experimental. His works developed out of an interest for kinetic sculpture and machines as well as from a fascination for the poetic potential of explosion and destruction.
Until his early death, Cripps built machines and interactive installations and realised pyrotechnical performances. He developed many of his projects through the mediums of drawing and collage. This timely publication turns the spotlight on the trans-media character and multi-sensory quality of Cripps’ oeuvre, particularly through its focus on the artist’s drawings.
Through its combination of works on paper, audio material, film and documentary media, Performing Machines sets out to showcase the hybrid quality of Cripps’s performative praxis. Drawings and sound recordings, the visual and the acoustic, thus complement each other in a feast for both eyes and ears.
He staged performances in the UK, Europe and the United States; exhibited at Serpentine Gallery, London (1975), and had three solo exhibitions at The Acme Gallery, London (1978, 1980 and 1981).
From 1974 onward, Cripps designed sets for two theatre productions by Stephen Berkoff. He often collaborated with musicians: one notable example is the 1979 pyrotechnic performance at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, created with percussionist, Paul Burwell.
Published for the exhibition, Stephen Cripps: Performance Machines at Museum Tinguely, Basel, 21 January – 1 May 2017.