Ex-exhibition @ the Ship & Mitre

"Segue o teu destino
Regue as tuas plantas
Ama as tuas rosas
O resto é a sombra
De árvores alheias"

Follow your destiny, water your plants, love your roses. Everything else is shadows of trees that are none of your business
 (or Everything else is the shadow of trees that belong to somebody else or Everything else is shadows of trees that are nothing to do with you or Everything else is the shadow of somebody else's trees) [my attempted translations]

Fernando Pessoa-Ricardo Reis


  In 2006 I finally got round to putting together an exhibition in Liverpool. One of my few "artistic" steps in the six years since leaving Spain to come back to Liverpool. It started on June 12. It had been receiving favourable comments, and I had even reserved a couple of drawings for people who wanted to buy them. . .  

 But Saturday 1 July I decided to take it down and finish long before it was due to finish. Why? The night before, a busy Friday night, one of the drawings was stolen from the pub. The board it was mounted on was later found outside in the street.
Which drawing? God's Big Ball

Here it is in happier days before the robbery. . .

and this was the view on Saturday 1 July

 

So I took everything down, creating an ex-exhibition. I've even got a photo of it happily on show in another exhibition in Spain in 1996.

For all the wrong reasons, this situation recalled another drawing of mine in one of my galleries

 

On the left are the flyer & poster for the Liverpool pub exhibition, which you'd have seen if you were out & about in Liverpool  . .

. . . and on the right is the brochure that I prepared and had printed, parodying the Ship & Mitre's own beer menu

Give the animations a few a seconds to start

Download the three items here (open the zip file with WinRar)

[click on the link if you are using Opera, Safari or I.Explorer, but with Firefox right-click on it and choose Save Link As...]

 

 

It wasn't an easy decision to take the exhibition down. I had put a lot of time effort & money into preparing and mounting everything, designing flyers & posters and placing them around the city. And it was good to be able to refer people to a real physical space to view my drawings, a kind of base, in addition to my website. But I couldn't take any risks, I couldn't lose another drawing. Plus, although the pub's staff were sympathetic & understanding, the owners seemed slightly indifferent. And that made me sure I was making the right decision.
 
I tried to get some consolation by alerting the press & people in the arts to the fact that God's big ball has been stolen, God now is big-ball-less. Has anyone seen God's big ball?

I reported it to the police, after which I rebaptised the drawing with its crime number: IMS 05E1/090181/06
Why did I call the exhibition a Tri-Anal? That's for me to know & you to find out!
For those of you who couldn't make it to the pub to see the real thing, here's a handful of virtual shuftis.

Why exhibit in pubs & bars? Well, despite the obvious risks involved, pubs have better opening hours than galleries. They're licensed, so yours truly can sit back, relax and  have a much-deserved drink while the visitors toil over the exhibits . . .

People meet up in pubs . . .

 

 . . . and if they like the pub-cum-exhibition, they're likely to both come back and to recommend it to others.  "Normal" people [i.e. 99.98% of the public, and a large percentage of my potential target audience] . . .

go to pubs, whereas gallery-goers [the other 0.02%] form a smaller percentage of that target audience.
Gallery-goers tend not to meet up with others in galleries, and even if they like what they see they probably won't go back for a few months. Even if they recommend a friend to go to the gallery, the odds are stacked against that friend going. Gallery opening hours are not usually very user-friendly. Visiting a gallery is a very solitary occupation. A discomforting, unpleasant duty which they perform to get it over and done with. Like going to church, it's a box to be ticked on the admittance form for Heaven, in the hope that it will compensate for some of their other sins.
This back room in the Ship is dark, not a place that would initially suggests itself for exhibitions. So why here?
Let me put it this way. If you had to come face to face with your worst nightmare, would you rather meet it full in your face in broad daylight in the public gaze, or glimpse it skulking in a dismal, distant corner . . .

where you can tackle it on your own, in your own time? Precisely, my feelings exactly.
When I started putting this page together to reflect the exhibition, I agreed with my interpretation of the sentiment inside the Fernando Pessoa quote, at the top of the page, even though I couldn't swear I knew exactly what he meant. Now, in view of the theft, I agree with it even more, for some reason I couldn't explain.

Your worst nightmare and mine - me

On the subject of exhibitions, my previous exhibitions begin here in Liverpool 1986, then move to Spain here & here, here, with other photos here, a 1995 exhibition here, photos from a later 1996 Bilbao exhibition here, here and here.


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Copyright © 2005-2014 by Denis Murphy. All rights reserved. Revised: 04 Apr 2014 18:28 .