1st performance: Schmalzwald, Berlin, 1999
The trash art ensemble Fuzzy Love began to develop their celebration of the trivial aspects of popular culture years before they even had a name for the band. At the former Berlin underground club Schmalzwald (a play on the German word Schwarzwald or "Black Forest" and, indeed, a forest of kitsch designed by Canadian artist Laura Kikauka) the trio presented live 'irritainment' usually consisting of karaoke vocal accompaniments to Gordon Monahan playing his Hammond-style organ. When master chef and ersatz hypnotist Gordon W. began to regularly beat the bongos and tickle the theremin, he, Monahan (known affectionately as El Gordo), and singer JJ Jones realized they had unwittingly created a band.
Fuzzy Love uses the medium of music to explore the tension between the ritualistic repetitions of the pop culture industry, with its inherent icon-worshipping, and the immediacy of an over-the-top live performance. The result might be termed 'De-contructionist Anti-Pop'. With organ, percussion and vocals, evenly spiced by the electronic mezzo-soprano of the theremin, the trio maximizes its visual elements in an orgy of strange lighting fixtures, polynesian figureheads and retro costumes. The playful intellectual complexity of the band's message gives a refreshing impetus to the audience, which generally dances late into the night overcome by a frenzy of nostalgia and passion, a phenomenon the band refers to as "lampshade-ism".
Fuzzy Love has played at the Venice Biennale, The Maison des Arts National, Paris, The Festival of Vision, Hong Kong, the Haus der Kunst, Munich, and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, amongst other notable venues. Their new album, Psycho Romantic Mood Swing, was released in 2004.
photo top-left by Constance Hanna/photos bottom by Ingeborg Martens