26/05/2012 — 28/07/2012

ON: A Re-Imagining of

Blackpool Illuminations

by Brian Griffiths

Grundy Art Gallery has commissioned artist Brian Griffiths to respond to Blackpool'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.

The exhibition showcases 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 has transformed and made distinctive places within the gallery's own architectural space. Light is 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 are employed and carefully orchestrated to articulate and frame our changing perception and experience of light.

Brian Griffiths
Brian Griffiths's sculptural works, three dimensional collages and installations have qualities of overt theatricality and pathos. His work has been 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.

The 2012 Blackpool Illuminations will begin on Friday 31 August and shine every day until Sunday 4 November. Follow this link for more information.


Installation images can be seen here.