26 May – 28 July 2012
Please join us on the opening night Saturday 26 May 6pm – 8pm
Grundy Art Gallery has commissioned artist Brian Griffiths to respond to the town’s famous Illuminations for their 100 years anniversary.
Exploring the idea and uses of light, Griffiths has created an exhibition that will be a unique presentation of a selection of actual or fragments of illuminations from the Blackpool Illuminations department and archive.
It will showcase the diversity of lights and the breadth of imagination that takes the viewer effortlessly from ancient Greece to science fiction future, from human-sized teddy bears to gigantic Tiffany lamps.
In today’s world it can be easy to forget that until about 250 years ago people lived half their lives in nearly unrelieved darkness. Then new transforming technologies arrived: oil lamps much brighter than any known before, gaslights and then electric lights.
Created in its near current form in 1912, Blackpool Illuminations, with its annual promenade of extravagant decoration, allows us to see light again, forcing us to look directly at it, as light itself becomes an extraordinary building material. The Blackpool Illuminations manipulate and orchestrate light to create a cultural specific lightscape: one of entertainment, of inclusion, of city identity, of excessive activity and ever-changing spectacle.
To move these classic Illuminations inside, away from the Northern wind-swept seascape and to exhibit them in a gallery encourages and allows a wider exploration and articulation of the idea of light. Using the material, scale, form, surface and the particular vernacular of making the illuminations, Griffiths will transform and make distinctive places within the gallery’s own architectural space. Light will be used to create an absurd and rich immersive environment for the viewer to experience and enjoy. Luminosity, colour, saturation, tint, movement, shadows and architectural lighting will all be employed and carefully orchestrated to articulate and frame our changing perception and experience of light.
Brian Griffiths has exhibited extensively in the UK and internationally, most recently at Tate Britain and on a UK wide tour in the British Art Show 7. He has had solo shows at Camden Arts Centre, Arnolfini, A Foundation, Vilma Gold, Galeria Luisa Strina and internationally has shown work at numerous museums including the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands, The Mattress Factory Museum in Pittsburgh, CAPC museum in Bordeaux, Mostra D’Arte Contemporanea in Milan and Belém Museum of Modern Art, Brazil. Brian Griffiths is represented by Vilma Gold, London’ Galeria Luisa Strina, São Paulo. And Grimm Gallery, Amsterdam. He is presently senior lecturer in Fine Art at the Royal Academy Schools, London.