The Varieties
2015 Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston, UK

The Varieties exhibition and performance programme drew on interests inherent in Offeh’s practice as well as the clown, acrobat and filmmaker Will Onda. Evoking and playing with conventions of 19th and 20th century variety theatre and music hall, Offeh’s work and the multiple identities of the Preston impresario, combine to inform the starting point for this exhibition.

Approached as a deconstructed mise-en-scene or stage-set, Offeh’s sculptures, including a series of platform, expand notions of sculpture, prop and performance. They are assembled in dialogue with the participating artists’ works that range from painting and performance to film and sculpture, as well as recontextualised objects from the Harris’ social history collection.

Interested in the tradition of learning, practice and rehearsal, Offeh instigated workshops with young people from Preston employing ideas of performance, collaboration, clowning and physical comedy to engage with the legacy and history of Onda and his multiple roles. One included clown and physical comedy performer Alice Robinson (Clown Lab).

Artists: Harold Offeh, Jonathan Baldock, Mark Bleakley, Andrea Booker, Stuart Edmundson, David Mackintosh, Mexico (Simon Boase, James Maxfield, Zoe Sawyer), Erkka Nissinen, Florence Peake and Sean Penlington.