‘On my return from travel, I was roused to a consideration of subjects which I had previously never dreamed of, or thought about, connected with self; and I had such ideas that, had I spoken of them openly, I must, if answered in the world’s fashion, have been told I was unreasonable. I concealed of course, these secret admonitions. I knew not whence they came, although I could not question their propriety nor could I separate myself from what appeared my fate. My religious opinions varied and do vary from the vulgar; I was inclined to fall in with the views of the ancients, and to regard the substitution of modern ideas with the views of the ancients, and to regard the substitution of modern ideas thereon as not for the better. These and the like, coupled with an idea of a descent from the Egyptian god Osiris…” (quoted in Allderidge, pp22-3). These were the words of Richard Dadd, infamous Victorian Fairy painter, who during a world tour with his patron, Sir Thomas Phillips, began suffering from various kinds of more or less paranoid delusions of pursuit, and became increasingly violent toward Phillips. In Rome, Dadd experienced an incontrollable urge to attack the Pope during one of his public appearances, and soon after returning home, murdered his own father.
Shaun Doyle & Mally Mallinson have decided to accompany each other on their own world tour, taking the decision to abandon their individual practices and join forces. Combining insanities, in a collaborative journey through the never never land of religion and art, Doyle & Mallinson have allowed a myriad of influences, from Dadd to Giotto, Nazarenos, garden gnomes, even hallucinogenic mushrooms and the crucifixion, to create an obscene and monstrous work they call ‘Peristroma Dolorosa’.
When Doyle & Mallinson came to me I had my suspicions that they were delirious. Both were unshaven and I could detect the smell of alcohol on their breath. Their clothing was disheveled and unsightly, smeared with a combination of chip fat and plaster dust. They ranted about the ‘Carpet of Sorrows’, like a crazy paved garden path, taken, they claimed from the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, the route that Christ took carrying his cross. They insisted that they had a vision of a caravan shaped like a skull with three fly agaric mushrooms on top, representing the crucifixion/calvary and surrounding this were piles of rubbish and garden gnome penitents that they called Nazerenomes. They then encouraged me to look at a reproduction of Giotto’s ‘the raising of Lazarus’ and tried to get me to believe that two small towers were in fact portaloos. “We will sculpt them for the pilgrims” shouted Doyle and Mallinson in unison. Seeing that they were completely deranged I felt that it was better to encourage them in their artistic pursuits rather than commit them to the asylum. It wasn’t until I had looked through countless images of the Pope in compromising positions and promised to exhibit ‘Peristroma Dolorosa’ that I was able to usher them safely to the door. For some unfathomable reason I started to hum an old John Lennon Song, “A working class hero is something to be. Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV…” Maybe there was something in this ridiculous vision, could it in fact be a critique of belief or the right to ridicule that of others? I quickly called the number they had given me to find out more but the answer phone message said, “Gone to Rome to see daddy, back next week, please speak after the tone.”
Shaun Doyle & Mally Mallinson have been included in a number of group shows in London and New York and have a forthcoming solo exhibition at John Hansard Gallery, Southampton. They are part of a touring exhibition for Odapark, Venray, Netherlands and Mally Mallinson’s work was included in Galleon and Other Stories, Saatchi Gallery, London. This will be the duo’s first solo exhibition since their decision to work together on a permanent basis.