Grant Recipients Grants to Artists Performance Art/Theater 1996

Gary Stevens

  • 1996 Grants to Artists
  • Performance Art/Theater
  • Writer, Director, Performer
  • Born London, England, 1953
  • Lives in London, England
  • Additional Information

Artist Statement

The following is a statement by the artist about Thread, Stevens' FCA-supported play.

A man weaves an elaborate and clearly bogus account of his presence on the stage. He is on stage as a way of hiding. The narrative thread is tenuous. He rewrites himself to accommodate scene changes.

He constantly sabotages his efforts to fit in. He is both exposed and invisible at the same time. Finally he forces himself to tell a joke that he is ill-prepared for and faces the wrath of an audience that, having accepted the absurd premise of the joke, expects to be relieved of it by a punch line.

Thread was commissioned by Hollywood Leather in 1997 and has been performed in galleries and theaters. Selected venues include the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, Visual Theatre Festival at Purcell Room, Southbank Centre in London, the Lyric Hammersmith in London, Brooke Alexander Gallery, Fierce! Festival at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, and Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow.


Gary Stevens is an artist who creates performances and video installation. His solo and ensemble works have been presented internationally in gallery, theater, festival, and public spaces.

Since 1984, Steven's work has been the result of a long development involving elaborate texts and formal visual art contexts. His video installations include Slow Life and Wake Up and Hide, which were commissioned and first shown at Matt's Gallery in London in 2003 and 2007, respectively. His video installations Now and Again and Containment were both shown at Southampton City Art Gallery in 2012. He has toured internationally with live pieces such as Not Tony and Ape and developed an ensemble performance for L'Avant Siene in Paris for 2014.

Since receiving his 1996 FCPA grant, Stevens has won a Paul Hamlyn Award for Visual Arts in 1998 and a One to One bursary from the Live Art Development Agency in 2005. He has taught in many art schools as a visiting Visual Art and Performance tutor, including: Byam Shaw, Goldsmith's, Middlesex and Wimbledon. He has served as a tutor at the Slade School of Fine Art, since 2007. Between 1999 and 2009, Stevens managed the monthly performance lab at Artsadmin, a performance, site-specific, and interdisciplinary focused arts space in London.

Photograph of two people looking directly at each other, their faces close and holding each others forearms while laughing.

Performance still from FCPA-supported And, 2002. Photo by Vit Hopley.

Photograph of two figures clad in black interacting with one another. The figure on the right has an extended arm holding a green bag, while the other figure retracts something from it. In the front of the two figures, closer to the viewer two figures with only their bottom half shown, face each other while holding both their hands.

Performance still from FCPA-supported And, 2002. Photo by Vit Hopley.

Photograph of three people similarly dressed, with the two on the right standing further from the one on the left. All three of them stand in front of furniture, the two on the right with chairs and the figure on the left with a nightstand. All three figures have their palms open and extended towards the furniture.

Performance still from FCPA-supported And, 2002. Photo by Vit Hopley.

Photograph of a group of people split in the middle and running on opposite directions. Behind them in the background are full trees with a small rose garden.

Performance still from Here & There, 2002.

Photograph of four people in a room in various positions. One of them is seated down on a couch staring at the ceiling, while the another lays down with feet propped on a red armchair, with another person laying right next to him. In the front, closest to the viewer another person is seated staring down.

Performance still from Hide, 2007. Photo by David Gopsill.

Photograph of five people sitting in a room adorned with deep red curtains and furniture. Two people sit on a beige couch far away from each other, while in the back another with a black cowboy hat stands. Another person sits by themselves on a a dining room table, while in the front closest to the viewer the last person is turned with their side profile.

Performance still from Hide, 2007. Photo by David Gopsill.

Three horizontal images are projected on two walls. The image on the left is projected by itself on the wall, depicting two people sitting in a living room. The picture on the other wall being further away from the viewer appears distorted, it depicts a person playing the piano and another watching him. The third picture closest to the viewer shows a yellow background with two people talking.

Installation view of Slow Life, 2005. Photo by John Riddy.

Photograph of three people in a dining place, sitting at a table. Cups of coffee, bowls and jam jars sit in front of them.

Video still from Slow Life, 2005. Photo by John Riddy.