26/06/2010 — 11/09/2010

Extra Ordinary

Brian Griffiths, 'Beneath the Stride of Giants', 2004. wood

Collection The Saatchi Gallery, London. Commissioned by Camden Arts Centre, London

Blackpool has an important history of sideshow and fairground entertainment, which showcased the exotic, the amazing and the bizarre. With a resurgence in the popularity of such entertainment in recent years Extra Ordinary purposefully sets out to embrace this culture, looking at magic, horror, clairvoyance and spectacle, but removes its focus from the exotic to include artworks that find the extraordinary within the mundane.

The exhibition brings together artworks formed from everyday objects, or familiar routines and experiences repositioned to become absurd or magical. It includes Brian Griffths' 'Beneath the Stride of Giants', a vast maritime vessel, part real part mythical, constructed of salvaged furniture and discarded material. Annabel Dover likewise reinvents forgotten objects in a series of drawings entitled 'Pyschometry', which illustrate ornaments taken to a psychic to reveal their past encounters.

Simon Patterson's film ‘Escape Routine’ focuses on the familiar in-flight safety demonstration enacted through the magic routines of Harry Houdini. The regular demonstrations involving oxygen masks, lifejackets, escape routes etc. juxtaposed with the escapologists’ famous routines.

Nina Könnemann’s dream-like films ‘Typhoon’ and ‘Talon’ are shot against collaged Hollywood film posters, animated through the imaginary re-enactments of the twists and falls of the rollercoaster rides from which they take their titles. 

Shimabuku's ‘Born as a Box’ and ‘King Box’ humanize and enlarge to epic proportions the simple cardboard box with humour, a quality also present in Sofia Hultén's work 'Familiars', a series of films in which members of the artist’s family construct situations in their home intended to induce fear and unnerve each other.


Installation images of Extra Ordinary can be seen here.


The exhibition is funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, and kindly supported by Ikon Gallery, Birmingham