26.1.12

The Invisible Show

Brian Griffiths - The Invisible Show
Vilma Gold Gallery
21st January - 19th February




Given the chance, Invisibility would be my super power. That fly-on-the-wall state of being that allows you to poke your nose in at any situation without being noticed. Brian Griffiths, however, subverts this idea in its entirety. Erecting these giant, beige, tarpaulin cuboids, he has managed to consume the entire gallery, each separate structure bound together as Griffith’s toys with the boundaries of the art object.
Creating a negative space, he determines the route around the gallery, restricting you at every turn and forcing you into uncomfortable face-to-face polite conversation which we so frequently avoid these days as our social activity slowly begins to exist only on the internet.

As you meet another visitor, also trying to squeeze their way down the narrow corridors between gallery wall and sagging material structure, you begin to realise how much Griffiths has succeeded in containing you, together. One solution was to merely to get down on your hands and knees, peering underneath the structures edge as a means of easily avoiding all physical confrontation, before suddenly realising you look A) particularly stupid and B) feeling like you are imposing on a crime scene, interfering with the forensic tents which possibly disguise something you feel you rather not ought to be looking at.

These makeshift, primal structures are reminiscent of the expeditions led by the British Empire back in the day, any minute now I expect to see Colonel Mustard marching round the corner exploring this sterile room which offers plenty of narrative in such a restricted space. The Invisible Show makes difficult viewing, in the physical sense, but once you step back from the politics of never talking to strangers, invading somebody’s personal space can be rather liberating.
 
Brian Griffiths is The Guardian's Artist of the Week