FG.Ft: Remembering Frank Tovey

The new exhibition marks the ten year anniversary of the death of the late British artist and former frontman of Fad Gadget

Martynka Wawrzyniak Gag, 2012 vinyl covered in tar
Martynka Wawrzyniak Gag, 2012 vinyl covered in tar and feathers, encased in a plexi box frame 16 x 16 x 2 inches

Tomorrow will mark the ten year anniversary of Frank Tovey’s death, the pioneering electronic new wave British artist and former front man of Fad Gadget. During his career, Frank surpassed the mere role of front man, renowned for his tarred and feathered appearances and enthusiastic onstage performance art - which at times left him with a collection of injuries, one in which was the result of using his head to play an electronic drum. Fad Gadgets industrially artistic style lent a romantic alternative to the British music scene of the 1970s and 1980s, heavily trodden with punk, and it was this impression that paved the way for bands such as Depeche Mode, Human League, and Cabaret Voltaire.

New York’s Envoy Enterprises has brought together a collective of artists to celebrate the ten year anniversary of Frank’s passing, with an exhibition of specially commissioned works and live performances, including a screening of Fad Gadget by Frank Tovey, directed by Morgan Tovey Frost. One of the FG.Ft exhibit artists, New York-based Martynka Wawrzyniak, has paid tribute to his feather laden legacy. Dazed caught up with Martynka to find out more...

Dazed Digital: How did you get involved with the FG.Ft project?
Martynka Wawrzyniak: I was invited by the curator/ Envoy's director Jimi Dams. Jimi has been a big supporter of my work and gave me my first two solo shows at Envoy in 2009.

DD: What new works have you devised for this particular exhibit? Has it been a challenging project to work on?
Martynka Wawrzyniak: I tarred and feathered Fad Gadget's "Gag" vinyl record. Frank Tovey was known for performing tarred and feathered. It was a fun challenge to come up with the right idea for this show. Homework assignments like this are good as they allow you to step outside of your comfort zone and do something different.

DD: As an artist, what have you been able to harvest from the the legacy of Frank Tovey and what parallels have you drawn between his work and your own?
Martynka Wawrzyniak: I had never heard of Fad Gadget/Frank Tovey but as soon as I listened to his music and watched the documentary I realised that he had clearly influenced a lot of the musicians that I was into. Frank Tovey was more than just a musician he was a performance artist who used his body as a canvas to express himself - which is where we have a lot in common.

DD: How long have you lived in New York and what about the city inspires you?
Martynka Wawrzyniak: I have lived in NYC for 14 years. I am inspired by the intense creative energy of this city, the high frequency is highly addictive and motivational.

DD: What are your plans for after the exhibit? 
Martynka Wawrzyniak: I have spent the past 8 months working on an olfactory self portrait. It has been a very intense project that involves me working in a chemistry lab. I don't want to give away too many details just yet... More immediately on the horizon is that I am going to be showing my "Chocolate" video in Paris in mid March at Jousse Entreprises.

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