AC: Brian Sewell, the art critic of the Evening Standard, said in his review of Menstrually Recycled- "Never in my life have I witnessed such a travesty in the name of art. It is so banal, so utterly devoid of wit or imagination (let alone talent) that one is left with the feeling, not so much of an opportunity missed, but more that the opportunity didnt actually exist in the first place". Does that kind of criticism upset you?
FGW: I think it would if it wasnt for one thing.
AC: And what would that be?
FGW: The fact that I know that Brian Sewell is a brain-dead old fart whose head is so firmly planted up his own arsehole that hes in grave danger of ingesting his own pelvis. He wouldnt recognise true art if it was tattooed onto the inside of his eyelids. In fact, one of the pieces in my exhibition deals with Mr Sewell and his so-called artistic values.
AC: That would be Brian Sewell has a tiny cock?
FGW: Thats right. Its a multimedia installation piece. Basically it consists of a bank of video monitors placed around a rabbit hutch. The monitors continually display examples of different works of art while in the cage are two rabbits eating their own droppings. Its an ironic comment on the state of art criticism in Britain at the beginning of the 21st Century.
AC: Its certainly divided the critics hasnt it?
FGW: Yeah, Art Review called it, "Powerful and shocking. Like being slapped in the face by your own preconceptions" while the Sunday Times Magazine called it, "wank". But thats the whole point of my work. I want people to be challenged by it. I want to see people running out of the gallery screaming because their brains are about to melt. I think the ultimate ambition is for everyone who comes to see the exhibition ending up needing psychiatric help. They featured it on Newsnight Review last week. Mark Lawson is now getting treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
AC: Your work is made up almost entirely of film and video pieces. Why did you choose that as your medium?
FGW: It has an immediacy to it. Its real. Its now. Its also very organic but technological at the same time. I hate canvas. Its a dead medium as far as Im concerned. To me theres no difference between a painting and a slogan on a t-shirt or a bumper sticker on a car. The Haywain is as meaningless as "Honk if you bonk" or "My other car is a Batmobile". The Mona Lisa might as well be a large picture of Craig Charles' fat ugly grinning face plastered over a quote from Red Dwarf on a spotty teenagers chest. Its all dead, lifeless. Film is like a living thing. It changes and evolves. Unless its Red Dwarf that just recycled the same jokes over and over again after series three. There wasnt much that evolved there.
AC: I want to talk about some of the other pieces in the exhibition. One of the more powerful films you made is called My Cervix My Self. Can you tell us about that?
FGW: Its an attempt to show how women are portrayed in films as nothing more then sex objects. To that end the film follows one day in a womans life but all filmed by a camera inserted into her vagina. It gives us a wombs-eye view of the daily struggle we all face as women.
AC: So essentially youve created a whole new genre - the gynaecology epic.
FGW: I dont like to apply glib labels to my work. I am an artist. I let my art speak for itself.
AC: Another of the films you have showing here is called Cross your Heart isnt it?
FGW: Again its a piece about femininity. It depicts Edwin Caulder, the inventor of the bra being strangled by his own creation. It is a metaphor for the way that women are confined by an item of clothing designed by a man. An item of clothing that men can never wear but yet they dictate its form.
AC: I believe one person has already dubbed it Bra Wars.
FGW: You feel threatened by my work dont you?
AC: No. Not at all
FGW: You are. I can see the fear in your eyes.
AC: Oh that. Actually, Ive got a touch of conjunctivitis. Cross your Heart has a companion piece doesnt it?
FGW: Yes. Its called See how you like it. Its about the male inventor of the tampon. Hes forced to wear one himself. Hence the title.
AC: But seeing as hes a man how on earth is he supposed to do that?
FGW: Use your imagination.
AC: Oh. Oh God, I see.
FGW: My favourite piece is called Mans inhumanity to Man.
AC: Thats a live action/video installation isnt it?
FGW: Thats right. It depicts two men wearing nappies. They alternately beat each other with cricket bats then tickle themselves with feathers. They are surrounded by video monitors that show either images of themselves relayed by closed circuit cameras or images of pornography. This is coupled with a soundtrack featuring the greatest hits of Bucks Fizz interspersed with the cast of Coronation Street shouting "No!" in a variety of European languages. It represents the ineffectuality of reality.
AC: Yes, I wanted to ask you about that. Its rubbish isnt it?
AC: Its complete and utter rubbish.
FGW: Are you daring to call my art rubbish?
AC: Well somebody has to. Look at it. Its crap. Its just two out of work actors pretending to hit each other with rubber cricket bats. One of them was in The Bill last week.
Actor 1: It was Silent Witness actually. I played Amanda Burtons old boyfriend who accidentally gets involved in a murder shes investigating thus forcing her to come to terms with her own past before she can face her future. My agents talking about a BAFTA nomination actually.
AC: And you can shut up too.
FGW: Dont talk to my art like that.
Actor 2: Im sorry, Im not your art. I have actually done Shakespeare.
AC: If youre so good why are you doing this? Why arent you out doing some proper acting?
Actor 2: Bitch.
Actor 1: Ignore him Justin.
FGW: Will you two be quiet! Youre destroying the ambience of my work.
AC: Francine Germaine-Wilson, I think well leave it there.
Actor 1: Justin, your nappys falling off.
FGW: I hope youre satisfied with yourself Dr Cousins.
"Menstrual Recycling" is showing at the Tate Modern until the 26th August 2001.