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 appeared on the disused platform of Gloucester Road Underground station.
For this sculptural installation Life Is a Laugh, Brian Griffiths 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.