Jesse Griffin's Centaur : : Seen

Centaur explores an artistic retrospective of multi-disciplinary artist Clifton (Jesse Griffen), who is explorative in sculpture, painting, installation, video, sound, performance, and is generally just an extremely talented creative. Clifton’s approach to art-making is passionate and without distraction - wearing adult nappies is an imperative requirement in the studio, and his art making gets his full and un-divided attention, no matter what.


Clifton articulately guided an imaginative journey, explaining and re-explaining thoroughly and allowing interactivity from his audience, much like a critique at art school - my whole degree was utterly ripped apart for the sake of comedy. Clifton was bullied at art-school for being too brilliant, which really propelled the shows framework, following a struggling artist trying to make sense of his work and in turn, the challenges of the universe around him. Clifton described his artistic integrity behind 8 different art works that all varied in value, skill, and ‘perspective’ (seemingly a favourite word of his). Upon entering the set, he met us dressed as Christ in none other than a mock-hospital gown, singing hymns and gently stroking the faces of his audience. He informed us all that he often dressed as Christ, as he sought to re-emulate a performance piece based on Christ’s Crucifixion (or Cruci-non-fiction). Clifton wanted to challenge his audience and provoked us till the very end. I would highly recommend eating dinner after the play (you’ll thank me later), and like Clifton says, bring eye protection if you have any.


Griffen is one of the most hilarious creatures in New Zealand, and his vivacity and confidence in this short show was admirable. It was quite easy to forget you were watching a one-man performance, apart from having the other audience members or ‘gallery go-ers’ profusely giggling next to you. Clifton’s satire was on fire, and it was so exciting to move around the set with him and see what was going to happen next. Centaur was full of witty bites of impromptu comebacks and comments - but this guy was totally professional as he played a wanky, confused, and lost artist. I am seriously re-considering my entire university degree, not even joking.


A standing, interactive show was not what I was expecting heading to the Basement on opening night, in-fact, I didn’t really know what to expect. Half- Man, Half- Horse, Half-Artist was the only snippet of information I had digested, which definitely made the shows shock value that much more exemplified. Be prepared for a lot of skin, pubic hair, shit, an ape mask, and (questionable) contemporary art.


A sight for sore eyes this one.


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