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Brian Griffiths

BILL MURRAY: a story of distance, size and sincerity

20 November 2015 – 28 February 2016

In BILL MURRAY: a story of distance, size and sincerity, artist Brian Griffiths presented an ambitious new commission that took in BALTIC’s vast Level 4 gallery with a contrastingly small-scale production. A series of nine different style buildings, including a lavish LA beach house, a historic Scottish mansion and an ocean adventure dome, imagined Hollywood actor Bill Murray’s activities and pastimes.

A complex assemblage of these architectural models, light, everyday objects and a documented performance of Bill Murray creates a metaphysical adventure story and a fantasy caricature complete with whisky minibar, grand piano and helicopter.

BILL MURRAY: a story of distance, size and sincerity was an exhibition that enjoyed and considered the effects of small, miniature, big, gigantic, the scaled up and scaled down, detail and overview. It was an exhibition that questioned how one experiences and measures things. It encouraged comparisons and differences, instabilities and slipperiness and attempted to use exaggeration as a means of revelation. This exhibition strived for both intimacy and grandeur, to present production and consumption and hopes for imaginative flight from humble objects.

Griffiths has also reproduced an image of Bill Murray at Cannes Film Festival as a 20 metre-long banner, which appeared on BALTIC’s north facade for the duration of the exhibition, playing once more with degrees of scale.

Since the early 1990s Brian Griffiths has been making sculptures and installations with overblown theatricality and pathos. He uses found and made objects to consider our complex relationships with the material and social world; how we use objects to make meaning, to make and re-make ourselves, to organise our anxieties and affections, to sublimate our fears and shape our fantasies.

Bill Murray is always authentic. He is consistently ‘BILL MURRAY’. His singularity breaks into irreducible ambiguities and contradictions – Bill the global superstar, the guy-next-door, anti-brand brand, irrepressible lothario, dignified clown and droll philosopher. This exhibition takes these and many other characteristics as an approach, turning them into a fantasy caricature and a poetic tableau of scaled down architecture and collections.

Exhibition sponsored by