A self-taught artist, make-up artist and occasional fashion designer Trojan, who took his name from a record label, was always looking for a startling originality in everything he did. He was thrilled by extremes, deformities, the garish and grotesque. Crafted in biro and cheap pens, his drawings remain raw and uncompromising and incorporate surprising techniques such as newspaper headlines transferred onto paper using Scotch Tape and lighter fuel. Immersed in the late-80s club scene, Trojan found himself at the centre of a group of highly creative individuals, including fashion designer Rachel Auburn, dancer Michael Clark, Leigh Bowery, and experimental filmmaker John Maybury.
In his drawings, Trojan chronicles encounters with a number of bizarre characters, such a woman knitting with gin for brains, a one-legged cake eater, and tabloid villains. Many of the drawings are studies for paintings, often used to map out areas of colour. Inserted into kitsch plastic frames, the finished paintings were at once comical and absurd, featuring ready-made appendages such as plastic fried eggs and fake turds acquired from his favourite magic shop. The exhibition also includes previously unseen photo albums loaned by John Maybury and Sue Tilley.
Trojan, aka Gary Barnes, was born in 1966 in Croydon, South London, and later died of a drug overdose in 1986.
We would like to express our gratitude to John Maybury for making this exhibition possible.