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“There is an annual exhibition of folly and iniquity in this great City, which does injury to thousands. That exhibition, as everyone but too well knows, is now at hand; and most affectionately do I advise everyone, without exception, to avoid it, pass not by it, but turn from it, and pass away.
[…] it has long degenerated into one of the lowest and loosest scenes of profligacy and riot that can be imagined.”*
Marsh exhibits elements from a new body of work that is based around his current research at the National Fairground and Circus Archive in Sheffield. Fairs go back to a time when we were governed by the seasons and a cycle of work followed by idleness, plenty then poverty; burn the old and welcome the new. At the fairground there is the notion of carnival and the occasion to turn the world upside down, to celebrate, show off, get together and make a noise. An element of spectacle and of putting on a show, bright lights loud music and the very physical and sensational experience of being on a thrill ride; the extreme poles of fear and excitement. Fairs are very seductive in a way that is reflected in the commercial and corporate world and have their origins in exchange and trade. Marsh connects these things to the process of making and exhibiting art: a cycle of building, exhibiting and then destroying, feeling high and low, commerce and tradition, glamour and dirt, intense activity and then stillness.
*A sermon on the evils of fairs in general and of Bartholomew fair in particular: Preached at at Charlotte Chapel, Pimlico on Sunday August 22nd, 1830 by the Reverend Robert Crawford Dillon, MA
Supported by Norsk Kulturrådet; the National Fairground and Circus Archive (UK); Sheffield Hallam University; AA2A (UK).