“I think of myself as a canvas,” Leigh Bowery once said about himself. This statement most probably provides the crucial formula for understanding the enfant terrible. Presenting himself in garish ways and stylizing himself as a walking work of art, Leigh Bowery stirred up London’s sub-culture of the 1980s. He skillfully staged his ample body with way-out fashion designs and materials such as paint, tulle, sequins, and satin. He was sure to draw applause on the international club culture catwalks, the everyday stage of the street, as well as in talk shows and at performance events in art galleries. Leigh Bowery’s eccentric presentations between performance, fashion, and music are still a source of inspiration for numerous artists, photographers, and film makers today.
Relying on a lot of humor and a bad taste attitude, Leigh Bowery tested individual expectations and social conventions: “I like doing the opposite of what people expect.” Holding a mirror up to the dictatorship of the conformists, he reveled in exposing them as other-directed.
Leigh Bowery was born in Sunshine, Australia in 1961 and died from AIDS in 1994.