Brian Griffiths at the Baltic


Brian Griffiths’ Bill Murray exhibition at the Baltic messes with your head. It is a lovely, witty and warm-hearted interpretation of Murray’s life using ‘found objects’. One man’s rubbish is, after all, another man’s treasure, and Brian Griffiths elevates foil packets and lampshades to a status well beyond their original purpose.

A number of dolls houses and architectural models entice you to peer through the tiny windows to get a better glimpse of the actor’s real or imagined interests – drawing you in so that you can experience the classical music issuing from one exhibit or the aroma of coffee from another. Each building sports an oversize image of Murray pasted across an external façade, echoing the huge photo of Murray taken at the Cannes Film Festival which adorns the riverside façade of the Baltic.

The exhibition toys with scale, using oversize pots atop a tiny commode, or a stack of pennies to prop up a miniature chair, or a full size digital radio balanced on top of a scaled down grand piano. Reminds me in parts of the Joseph Cornell’s work I saw recently at the Royal Academy, but on a much larger scale!


But it’s not just the individual exhibits that display this contradiction of scale – the whole exhibition is curated in the huge space in the Level 4 gallery with only a portion of the space being used to house the nine individual buildings, some displayed on office or dining tables.
Small it may be in terms of the overall space in the gallery, but it’s large in terms of content and humour. As an admirer of creative recycling and ad hocism, I couldn’t miss out and it was well worth the journey up to Tyne & Wear.

The exhibition Bill Murray: a story of distance, size and sincerity at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead ends on the 28 February.

There’s not much time left – don’t miss it!

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