01 Jul 2007
Life is a Laugh
Platform for Art is pleased to present Life is a Laugh, by Brian Griffiths, a new commission for Gloucester Road Undrground station.
A 7.5 metre wide panda’s head along with a 1970s caravan, a lamp post rescued from the M42, a pair of painted scaffolding ramps, a heap of sand, a stack of building blocks, a pile of used mattresses and a single bicycle will appear on the disused platform of Gloucester Road Underground station in July.
For this new sculptural installation Life Is a Laugh, commissioned by London Underground’s art programme Platform for Art, Brian Griffiths has constructed an epic 70-metre long site-specific artwork. Conscious of the transitional nature of both the site and its occupants, he aims in this work to tap into the character of his fleetingly captive audience, exaggerating a sense of expectation tinged with boredom, mental doodling and day-dreaming.
Griffiths’ interest in the theatrical is key to the selection and placement of the eclectic series of objects that run the course of the platform, transforming it into a giant shelf-like home to abandoned detritus. Punctuated by melodramatic lighting intended to provoke an “activated” viewing on the part of the audience, scale, materials and shape present a visual assault course encouraging the eye to scramble across the work from one end to the other.
The skill in Griffiths’ work is bound up in the physical making process. He selects and juxtaposes seemingly incongruous yet distinctly familiar objects whose inherent nature imbue a situation or environment with stories, memories, sensations and actions to construct a space for imagination and mental play.
The magic and humour in his work stems from the realisation of such liberating conceptual architecture out of contrastingly cumbersome earthbound resources. Previous exhibitions, for example, have encouraged excursions to other imagined places (and consequently other psychological states) via ramshackle contraptions such as a cardboard super-computer fashioned from household materials and a galleon constructed from wooden furniture.
The exhibition heralds a new scale in the commissioning programme for the site and will be at Gloucester Road for a 12-month period. Also accompanying the exhibition is a specially commissioned text by writer and critic Sally O’Reilly.
Platform for Art
Life is a Laugh is the latest art project on display across the Tube network. Other innovative art that has appeared as part of the Platform for Art initiative includes limited-edition Oyster wallets and the transformation of redundant platform space at Gloucester Road into a stunning gallery space. With over three million passengers using the network per day, projects are exposed to one of the biggest contemporary art audiences in Europe.
Platform for Art is London Underground’s (LU) public Art programme, producing high-calibre artworks in unexpected places on the network, enhancing the millions of journeys made every day. It aims to promote a greater understanding of the Tube as a cultural and social environment through the creative commissioning of artworks.