2012 is the 350th year since Samuel Pepys made first mention of having seen a performance of Punch and Judy in Covent Garden.
For the last fifteen years Helen Wilks has been preoccupied with possibilities emanating from the story of Punch and Judy. The works arising include paintings, puppets, drawings and prints.
The forthcoming exhibition will show a selection of these works (largely those on paper) and will coincide with the publication of an artist’s book “The Lamentable Tale of Punch and Judy”. Some of the works take the confined space of the performance tent as the setting for quotidian activity by these two quarrelsome characters. Others show them bursting rumbustiously out of their tiny theatre environment irreverently eliding subjects and forms from elsewhere (the tree of Jesse, the myth of Sisyphus, the Madonna del Popolo, for example) with their tangled tale in large graphite banner drawings.
Although some of these works have been shown previously in Mantua and in Madrid, none have been seen before in the UK. The latest works, completed this year, will be shown in Cambridge for the first time.