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December 8, 2021

Vintage Photos of Art Works by the Mutoid Waste Company During the 1980s

The Mutoid Waste Company are a performance arts group founded in London, England by Joe Rush and Robin Cooke in collaboration with Alan P Scott and Joshua Bowler. It started in the early 1980s, emerging from Frestonia’s ‘Car Breaker Gallery’. They are probably best known for their recycled art installations at Glastonbury Festival and refer to themselves as the Mutoids.

Influenced by the movie Mad Max and the popular Judge Dredd comics, they specialized in organizing illegal free parties in London throughout the 1980s, driven at first by eclectic assortments of fringe music such as psychedelic rock and dub reggae, but then embracing the burgeoning acid house music movement by the late 1980s.

Described as “part street theatre, part art show and part traveling circus” in the 1986 LWT documentary South of Watford., the group became famous for building giant welded sculptures from waste materials and for customizing broken down cars, as well as making large scale murals in the disused buildings where they held their parties.

In 1989, after a number of police raids on their warehouse in King’s Cross, they left the country and travelled to Berlin, Germany where they became notorious for building giant sculptures out of old machinery and car parts, one of which was ‘K√§ferman’, a giant human figure with a Volkswagen Beetle for its chest, offering a Bird Of Peace sculpture that overlooked the Berlin Wall towards East Berlin and the regime of East Germany. They had a collection of scrap military vehicles, including a Russian MiG 21 fighter aircraft which 'followed' them around wherever they went, and a painted tank known as “the Pink Panzer”.


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