Simon Mitchell's work is highly physical visual performance. His subject is the exploration of his own identity and the meanings that ‘maleness’ may hold in today’s society, and how certain social circumstances and environments are particularly conducive to macho behaviour. He says that it is partly from his membership of a rugby club that he has drawn his conclusions, as his work has "concerned itself with those aspects of male personality that I believe are fuelled by a facile attempt at proving masculinity":
There seems at the heart of [the] artist’s work an ambivalence – on the one hand presenting a critique of stereotypical male behaviour in terms of aggression and violence, modern day rituals of initiation etc. Yet nevertheless presenting us with a spectacle of male aggression, albeit directed ultimately against … himself. Mitchell’s work, however, has a darkly humorous twist – his pint-swinging bungee piece for example, which mixes extreme sport with lad culture – these almost animal proofs of survival of the fittest, proving one’s virility, proving one’s self to be ‘a real man’. Mitchell takes his actions to such an extreme, so that through exhaustion, the impossibility created by repetition, the difficulty of the tasks he sets himself, we see him ‘fail’ and in his failure he reveals himself as vulnerable, undermining the apparent display of machismo.
(Sara Rees ‘Simon Mitchell Twist and Shout’ from As Through Glass Darkly tactileBOSCH, 2002)