Theroux on Bickerton: Are We Alienated Enough?

Here is a work by _Ashley Bickerton

Image result for Ashley Bickerton

It is startling because it is slightly mad. Did I say slightly? Well, perhaps that is not the right adjective. It is bonkers. Bickerton’s work is bonkers.  And famous travel writer Paul Theroux, ever the patient and ironic sleuth of bonkersville, wants to know why. The link takes you to

… an edited extract from the catalogue to Ashley Bickerton: Ornamental Hysteria, on show at the Newport Street Gallery, London, from 21 April.

The answer is alienation. Bickerton lives in paradise and is alienated from it. Starting from alienation, we come to this thought

In the trajectory of his career, he evinces a growing sense of outrage. This rage – the anger of time – is sharpened by his wicked sense of humour. His preoccupation with flotsam seems to connect with the growing reality, in many of his pieces, of a blighted planet.

Which gives you something like this (the blue man)

Image result for Ashley Bickerton blue man

Even the ultimate danger from the wild — the shark — gets iconic treatment

Image result for Ashley Bickerton sharks

Wild? Unabashedly so. Inspiring? Well, I would say not. Cautionary would be a better word for the effect.

What do you think?


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