Aldeburgh: Artist with beer cans on his feet buries head in the beach

IS this art – or just burying your head in the sand?

Mark Fuller’s performance art proved a head-turner as one of Suffolk’s more unusual art centres was officially opened at the weekend.

The 47-year-old artist buried his head in Aldeburgh’s shingle beach as he performed his very own Moon Walk.

But this wasn’t the fleet-footed dance made famous by Michael Jackson, rather a stomp along the seafront with beer cans attached to his feet, before a head-burying finale.

The performance was part a weekend of celebrations to mark the official opening of The Aldeburgh Beach South Lookout and The Art House, a new creative space designed to give people the freedom to express their ideas.

The buildings have been bought by art dealer Caroline Wiseman, who now lives in The Art House, on Crag Path, opposite the tower.

She oversaw a weekend of talks, guided tours and exhibitions and said she hoped the workspace – a 19th Century lookout tower – would be used as an inspiration to local artists.

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Mr Fuller, a blacksmith artist from Laxfield, was invited to perform at the weekend after Ms Wiseman saw him do the Moon Walk at a show in Snape Maltings in the summer.

It began with him pulling a sculpture-on-wheels, which spells out the word “ecology”, before attaching beer cans to his feet for the “walk”, all whilst reading a love poem. He then buried his head and emerged with the exclamation: “Woe and ya-ha-he! The quantum pebbles of the beach!”

“I’ve had the idea for about 10 years,” he said.

“I was walking down a back alley and I stepped on a beer can which got stuck on my foot. I’ve only just recently turned it into a performance.

“It’s to do with ecology and the preoccupation with what we do with waste products.

“Burying my head was just an idea I had because it was at the beach. There could be a slight ecological message there, in that we’re burying our heads in the sand and not waking up to environmental issues.

“I didn’t have my head under for long. It was quite funny. I heard one little girl saying ‘daddy, he’s mad’.”

The weekend also featured work form current artist-in-residence Sophie Molins, poetry recitals and the launch of a flag, Eye Sea Know Ships 2011, made especially for the lookout by Saxmundham artist Ryan Gander. Work was also on shown by Royal Academians who have been inspired by the lookout, including Peter Blake, Eileen Cooper and Anthony Green.

Ms Wiseman, who has dealt in art for 25 years, said: “It was a fabulous weekend. We want to put together an exciting programme of creativity for the lookout – the idea is for people to come down and do whatever they feel like doing. It’s such a wonderful, inspiring place to work.”

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