Brian Griffiths

  • In Brian Griffiths’ work traditional genres of sculpture are re-thought through the assisted readymade or the fabricated found object. Trading on second-hand ‘conversation pieces’ and their malleability in terms of evoking imagined secret histories, Griffiths views art as a means of escape; a repeated and heroic attempt to leave the here and now and be transported to other places. His sculptures make their appearances as distinctive players: whilst a giant bear head, with its roughly patched concrete surface and painterly graphic face has the stoic air of a now defunct old school entertainer, a wooden box with its glimpse of a pair of shiny tan brogue shoes is enigmatic in its quietness. Elsewhere a twisted and crushed lump of a car becomes a ludicrous showy beast. For Griffiths, conceptual rigor is bound up with processes of making, so that overlooked everyday materials are selected for their potential in opening unto particular and evocative experiences. He uses the histories contained in his objects and materials to enquire into ideas of the flawed and the failed. Objects chosen are often of a bygone era, once aspirational new commodities now fallen; superseded and obsolete. He uses a stark bluntness to ask the viewer to scrutinize received ideals: his objects often deliberately lack the refinement of ‘good form’. Blown out of all proportion, they are jammed uncomfortably into spaces they do not fit, at once fatuous and melancholic. Aspirational, and yet tragically flawed, Griffiths’ works are charged with humour, discontent and sadness.

  • Bill & Vilma, 2016, Vilma Gold, London, installation view

  • Art Deco Time, 2015, printed image, plywood, wood, paint, 2 fans, paper streamers, Duck down double duvet and pillows, 1940’s wallpaper, cardboard, fabric, tape, wooden chair, coins, stool, plastic cup, 3 ceramic pot, yellow chest of drawers, letter B, letter M, yellow snooker ball, bulk light and cable, fixtures and bulbs, 2 tables, wood filler, fixings, 215 x 118 x 398 cm, 84 5/8 x 46 1/2 x 156 3/4 ins

    Bill & Vilma, 2016, Vilma Gold, London, installation view

  • Bill & Vilma, 2016, Vilma Gold, London, installation view

  • Brian Griffiths: BILL MURRAY: a story of distance, size and sincerity, 2015, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK, installation view


  • Scottish Mansion Time, 2015, printed image, plywood, wood, metal sheeting, victorian painting, lampshade, industrial lamp, deck chair, boxes, hammock, netting, hook, velvet, check fabric, wooden technical parts, mirrored card, mini whiskey bottles various whiskeys, paper, wooden forms, Magic Latern, chair, wooden elephant, metal rod, wood dye, varnish, large table with steel legs, 240V light fixtures and bulbs, LED strip warm white, fixings, 243 x 275 x 275 cm, 95 5/8 x 108 1/4 x 108 1/4 ins

  • Fantasy Villa Time, 2015, printed image, plywood, wood, paint, felt tips, Chinese piano, radio alarm clock set to UK time and playing classical music, paper copies, pink wardrobe, rainbow stickers, coloured cardboard, cushions, plastic cup, fixture and 60W standard bulb in red or green, polycarbonate sheeting, sweat shirt, plant, fixings, 214 x 200 x 87 cm, 84 1/4 x 78 3/4 x 34 1/4 ins

  • Borrowed World, Borrowed Eyes, 2014, Tramway, Glasgow, installation view

  • Borrowed World, Borrowed Eyes, 2014, Tramway, Glasgow, installation view

  • The Kidd, 2012, Foreground Projects, Frome, Somerset, UK, installation view

  • The Invisible Show, 2012, Vilma Gold, London, installation View

  • British Art Show 7, 2011, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, installation view

  • Beating the Bounds, 2009, Art Now, Tate Britain, installation view

  • Another End, 2008, Vilma Gold, London, installation view

  • Another End, 2008, Vilma Gold, London, installation view

  • A Foundation, 2007, Greenland Street, Liverpool, installation view

  • A Foundation, 2007, Greenland Street, Liverpool, installation view

  • The Man Who Loved Islands, 2007, Arnolfini, Bristolon, installation view

  • When Few Were Charmed, 2001, Vilma Gold, London, installation view

  • Lives and works in London

    1968Born in Stratford-Upon-Avon

    1989 – 1992University of Humberside

    1995 – 1996Goldsmiths College

    Solo Exhibitions (selected)

    2016Bill & Vilma, Vilma Gold, London

    2015Brian Griffiths: BILL MURRAY: a story of distance, size and sincerity, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead

    2013Borrowed World, Borrowed Eyes, Tramway, Glasgow
    These Foolish Travels, commission for Norwich Castle, UK. Norwich Castle Museums & Art Gallery - Part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival
    SHORTCUTS & DIGRESSIONS: Contemporary Sculpture from the Arts Council Collection, Curated by Brian Griffiths, Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery

    2012The Kidd, Foreground Projects, Frome, Somerset
    On: A Re-imagining of the Blackpool Illuminations, Grundy Gallery, Blackpool The Invisible Show (An Epilogue), Galeria Luisa Strina, São Paulo
    The Invisible Show, Vilma Gold, London

    2011In the Darkness of their Pockets, Grimm Gallery, Amsterdam
    Outrageous Fortune: Artists Remake the Tarot, Focal Point Gallery, Southend

    2008Another End, Vilma Gold, London

    2007The Only Living (Or Your Lonely Saucer Eyes), Greenland Street, A Foundation, Liverpool
    Life is a Laugh, Platform for Art Commission, London
    Beneath the Stride of Giants, Fabrica, Brighton
    The Man Who Loved Islands, Arnolfini, Bristol

    2005My Beloved Traitor, Galeria Luisa Strina, Sao Paolo, Brazil

    2004Some Unaccountable Blindness, The Breeder, Athens
    Beneath the Stride of Giants, Camden Arts Centre, London (cat.)

    2003When the World Was Young, Vilma Gold, London

    2002Brian Griffiths, Galeria Luisa Strina, Sao Paolo, Brazil (cat.)
    Brian Griffiths, MCMagma, Milan

    2001When Few Were Charmed, Vilma Gold, London

    1999Once Upon a Star, One in the Other, London

    1997Brian Griffiths, Habitat, London

    Group Exhibitions (selected)

    2016Big Birmingham Art Project, Library of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
    Big Birmingham Art Project, Birmingham Museum and Gallery, Birmingham, UK

    2014Nuite Americaine, Office Baroque, Brussels
    Panda Sex, curated by Tom Morton, Athens, Greece
    BP Walk Through British Art, London, United Kingdom

    2013Sculpture al Fresco III, Marcelle Joseph Projects, Great Fosters Hotel, Egham, Surrey
    V22 Collection Show, London
    Folk Devil, David Zwirner, NY

    2012No Now!, Space Station 65, London
    British Modern Remade, British Arts Council, London
    Ipswich Art School, Ipswich
    The Curator’s Egg - Altera Pars, Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London

    2011Outrageous Fortune: Artists Remake the Tarot, Hayward Touring Exhibition, Focal Point Gallery Friendship of the Peoples, Simon Oldfield, London
    Fountain Show, Dispari and Dispari Project, Italy
    The Extension, Vilma Gold, London

    2010Recent British Sculpture, Grimm Gallery, Amsterdam
    Extra Ordinary, Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool
    Rude Britannia: British Comic Art, Tate Birtain, London
    British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet, Hayward Touring Exhibition, touring to: Nottingham (Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham Castle Museum, New Art Exchange), London (Hayward Gallery), Glasgow (Centre for Contemporary Art, Gallery of Modern
    Art, Tramway), Plymouth (Peninsula Arts, Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, Royal William Yard, Plymouth College of Art) (cat.)
    Nothing is Impossible, The Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh
    Magic Show, Hayward Touring, Quad, Derby, Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, Tulie House (cat.) Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle, Chapter, Cardiff, Pump House Gallery, London
    The Library of Babel/In and Out of Place, Zabludowicz Collection/ 176, London (cat.)
    Beating the Bounds, Art Now, Tate Britain, London

    2009Jean-Luc Blanc, Opera Rock, curated by Alexis Valliant, CAPC, Bordeaux (cat.) V22 Presents: The Sculpture Show, London

    2008100 Years, 100 Artists, 100 Works of Art. Art on the Underground, London GSK Contemporary, Event Horizon, Royal Academy, London
    Forgotten Bar Project, Galerie im Regierung, Berlin
    Walls Have Ears, Man & Eve, London
    Lustwarande 08 – Wanderland, Baroque Forest de Oude Warande, Fundament Foundation, Tilburg, The Netherlands
    The Brotherhood, Kunstbunker, Nuremberg
    The Krautcho Club/In and Out of Place, 176 Gallery, London
    The Arrivals: Brian Griffiths and Matthew Draper, Royal Acedmy Schools, Hornsey

    2007Still Life, Still: Contemporary Variations, T1+2 Gallery, London
    Luke Gottelier, Kate Macgarry, London. Collaboration with Luke Gottelier and Tom McCarthy on ‘Jungle Shelf’.

    2006Brian Griffiths & Sophie von Hellermann, Vilma Gold Project Space, Berlin Our Marvellous Ambition, Vilma Gold, London
    60th Anniversary Exhibition, Gimpel Fils, London
    Hotspotz, Kunst Der Gegenwart, Austria (cat.)
    Metropolis Rise: New Art from London. Touring exhibition. Shanghai and Dashanzi International Art Festival (DIAF) Beijing (Cat)
    ‘Norberg-Vastmanland-Bergslagen-Sweden-Scaninavia-27 July 2006 At Lunchtime’
    Sweden (Cat)
    V22: Collection, New Acquisitions, V22, London
    Mongrel, Gone Tomorrow Gallery, London
    Scenery Presents: Picnic Area (Dumb interior), Room, Bristol

    2005The Hardest Thing to Draw is a Kiss, The Gallery at Wimbledon School of Art, Wimbledon (cat.) Showcase, South London Gallery, London and Talbolt Rice Gallery, Edinburgh (Cat)
    Be Ready, Heart, for Parting, New Endeavour, Great Eastern Hotel, London
    Think and Wonder, Museum of Childhood, London
    Drawing Two Hundred. Drawing Room. London

    2004Nocturnal Emissions, The Groninger Museum, Groninger
    Shapeshifters, M-PROJECT, Paris
    Death and Magic, Keith Talent Gallery, London
    Fluxo De Arte, Belem Museum of Modern Art, Belem (cat.) Galleon and Other Stories, The Saatchi Gallery, London New Blood, The Saatchi Gallery, London
    Tonight, Studio Voltaire, London
    Moon Absinthe, Rotterdam
    Collage, Bloomberg Space, London
    Universal Outstretch, Flaca, London

    2003Strange Messengers, The Breeder, Athens
    The Lost Collection of An Invisible Man, The Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle

    2002The Necessary Enemy, Bart Wells Institute, London

    2001OPEN PLAN P3–The Marathon, Alphadelta Gallery & Artio Gallery, Athens
    Tirana Biennale, Albania, UK Section
    Sages, Scientists and Madmen, One in the Other, London
    Just History, Tal Esther Gallery, Tel Aviv
    Hemorrhaging of States, Tent, Rotterdam
    Beck’s Futures 2, (touring exhibition), Institute of Contemporary Art, London. The Fruitmarket, Edinburgh & Sothebys, New York
    City Racing 1988-98: A Partial Account, Institute of Contemporary Art, London

    2000Brian Griffiths and Kenji Yanobe, Barbican Centre, London
    We Live A Life Of Endless Pleasure, with David Thorpe, Film Club, Glasgow Include me out, Unit 6 Provost Street, London
    Heart and Soul, Sandoni Rey, Los Angeles
    London Orphan Asylum, Mostra D’Arte Contemporanea, Milan Don’t Worry, Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, London
    These Epic Islands, Vilma Gold, London

    1999Nice To Meet You, Kunstbunker, Nurmberg
    Heart & Soul, Long Lane, London
    The Manchurian Candidate, Ciara Ennis and David Goldenberg, London Neurotic Realism (Part 1), The Saatchi Gallery, London

    1998Cluster Bomb, Morrison Judd Gallery, London
    Kling Klang, Frigate HMS Plymouth in association with The Tate Gallery Liverpool, Liverpool East International, Norwich School of Art, Norwich
    Ultra Gnost, Sali Gia Gallery, London
    Project V – “The Future is for the Young”, Galleri Axel Morner, Stockholm

    1997Hey, You Never Know, Kenny Schachter, New York
    New Contemporaries 97, Cornerhouse, Manchester; Camden Arts Centre, London; CCA, Glasgow. Selected by Hans Ulrich Orbrist, Gillian Wearing & Sarat Maharaj.
    Show 47, City Racing, London
    Gonzo, Bethnal Green old Police Station, London
    Transmat, One in the Other, London
    Group Show, Deutsch Britische Freundschaft, London
    Transatlantic, Incubator, London & Konstakuten, Stockholm
    Cardboard Box and Tape, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland, curated by Kirsty Ogg
    Low Maintenance, Hales Gallery, London
    Debonair Goofers, Conductors Hallway, London
    Life/Live, Musee d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris

    1996The Dean Street Garage Sale, Soho, London, curated by Paul Morrison Angels, Standpoint Gallery. Shoreditch, London

    Selected Bibliography Publications

    2010Crummy Love, Brian Griffiths, Koenig Publishing
    British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet, Hayward Publishing, London, 2010, p.82 - 85 Lewison, Cedar, Batchelor, Tim and Myrone, Martin, RUDE BRITANNIA - British Comic Art, Tate Publishing, London, 2010, p.122-123

    2009Magic Show. Hayward Touring, Hayward Publishing, London, 2009
    Vaillant, Alexis, Jean Luc Blanc, Opera Rock, CAPC Musee d’Art Contemporain de Bordeaux, exihibtion cat., Steinberg Press, 2009
    Mono: Issue 1, Ubiquitous Embodiment, curated by Steve Bishop, London, 2009
    Herbert, Martin, ‘Brian Griffiths - Interview’ Another Shitty Day in Paradise, Bart Wells Institute, ed.Francis Upritchard and Luke Gottelier, Dent-De-Leone, London, Spring, 2009

    2008Van Grinsven, Laura, Lustwarande 08 – Wanderland, Fundament Foundation, Exhibition Catalogue, 2008 The Arrival: Brian Griffiths & Matthew Draper, Royal Academy Gallery Schools Publication, 2008

    2007Platform for Art: Art on the Undergraound, Black Dog Publishing, London, 2007 A Bulletin: Issue Two, Greenland Street, Autumn, A Foundation, 2007

    2006Hotspots, Exhibition Catalogue, Kunst Der Gegenwart, Austria , 2006
    ‘Norgerg-Vastmanland-Bergslagen-Sweden-Scaninavia-27 July 2006 At Lunchtime’ Publication for
    residency culminating in works cited in and around Norberg, Sweden, 2006

    2005Showcase, Contemporary Art Society Acquisitions, 2005
    The Hardest Thing to Draw is a Kiss, The Gallery at Wimbledon School of Art, 2005

    2004Beneath the Stride of Giants, Camden Arts Centre (cat), 2004

    2003Fox, Dan, ‘Brian Griffiths’, Frieze Art Fair Yearbook, Frieze Publishing, 2003

    2002da Cunha, Alexandre and Griffiths, Brian, Exhibition Catalogue, Galeria Luisa Strina, British Council, 2002

    2001Open Plan P3 - The Marathon, Alphadelta Gallery & Artio Gallery, Exhibition Catalogue, Athens, 2001
    O’Reilly, Sally, Beck’s Futures 2, Exhibition Catalogue, ICA, London, 2001

    2000Don’t Worry, Catalogue for commissioned works for Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, 2000
    Young British Art: The Saatchi Decade, The Saatchi Gallery, London, 2000

    1999New Neurotic Realism, The Saatchi Gallery, London, 1999

    1998East International, Exhibition Catalogue, 1998
    Connected, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, 1998

    1997New Contemporaries, Exhibition Catalogue, 1997


    2012Clark, Robert, ON: A Re-imagining of Blackpool Illumination, The Guardian Guide, May-June 2012, pp. 36
    Rebecca Geldard, Art Review, April 2012, p.104 - 105
    Allington-Wood, Thalia and Griffiths, Brian, The Invisible Show, Art Review, 15 February, 2012 Brian Griffiths @ Vilma Gold, Spect, acularum - Perspectives on Contemporary Art, February, 2012 Rittenback, Karl and Griffiths, Brian,, February, 2012
    Rittenback, Karl, Brian Griffiths, Artforum online, February, 2012
    Doubal, Rosalie and Griffiths, Brian, The Invisible Show, Time Out London, 19 January, 2012 Brian Griffith’s Muse Music, Phaidon Online, January, 2012

    2011Mac Giolla Leith, Caoimhin, The British Art Show 7, Frieze, January - February, 2011, p.99 - 100 Drdan, The Extension at Vilma Gold, Blog, 18 January, 2011

    2010Jury, Louise, Diana Voodoo Doll Artist on Fourth Plinth Shortlist, Evening Standard, Dorment, Richard, The British Art Show, Nottingham/Newzspeak II, Saatchi Gallery, review, The Telegraph online, 21 November, 2010
    Ward, Ossian, Proposals for Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth, Time Out London, 2010
    Lewisohn, Cedar, Griffiths, Brian, Gravett, Paul and Thorp, Simon, Who Farted?, Tate Etc, Issue 19, Summer, 2010, p.82-91

    2008Griffin, Jonathan, Second Life, Frieze, p.120-123, 2008
    Another End, Vilma Gold, Exhibitions Pick of the Week, Guardian Guide, 5 July, 2008 Thatcher, Jennifer, Greenland Street, Art Review, December, 2008
    Cohen, Louise, A Wise Old Bird, The Times Newspaper, 20 October, 2008
    Sumpter, Helen, Going Underground, Timeout, London, 11-17 July, 2008
    Brian Griffith’s Liverpool Debut, Art World, November, 2008
    Morton, Tom, Bring His Tariff, A Bulletin, A foundation, Issue Two, Autumn, 2008
    Life Is a Laugh, Uk Recent Projects, Public Art Review, Issue 37, 2008
    Harris, Ed, One Way of Dealing With Tube Delays, Evening Standard, 12 July, 2008 Mind the Gap, And the Panda, Metro, 13 July, 2008
    Paws for a Laugh, Metro, 17 July, 2008
    Giant Panda Head in Tube Station, BBC News, 13 July, 2008
    Day in Pictures, BBC News, 12 July, 2008
    Brian Griffiths, Avantgarde Magazine, May, 2008

    2007Brian Griffiths, Arnolfini, Bristol, Pick of the Week, The Guide, April, 2007
    Ledger, Cassian, Beneath the Stride of Giants, Listings: Insight City News, May, 2007 Wareing, Rachel, Stirring Tales That are a Bit Nautical, The Argus Brighton, 25 May, 2007 The Story of a Sculpture, The Argus Brighton, 24 April, 2007
    Beneath the Stride of Giants, Top Galleries, The Times, 14 April, 2007

    2006O’Reilly, Sally, 60th Anniversary Exhibition, Art Monthly, 2006 Guner, Fisun, Lively for 60, Metrolife Art Review, 1 August, 2006

    2004Herbert, Martin, Brian Griffiths, Camden Arts Centre, April, 2004
    Skip Galleon Dominates Exhibition, BBC News, 7 July, 2004
    Leitch, Luke, Ship from a Skip, Evening Standard, 24 June, 2004
    O’Grady, Carrie, Here Today Gone Tomorrow: Brian Griffiths, The Guardian Guide, 2004

    2003Brian Cyril Griffiths, Flash Art, 2003
    Pick of The Week, The Guide, 11 October, 2003
    Herbert, Martin, Brian Griffiths: Reviews, Timeout London, 2003 Brian Griffiths: Vilma Gold, Critics Choice, Timeout, London, 2003 The Breeder Projects, Timeout Athens Visitors’ Guide, 2003
    The Breeder Projects, GQ, August, 2003

    2002Brian Griffiths: MCMagma, Flash Art, April, 2002 Brian Cyril Griffiths, Kult, April, 2002
    Perra, Daniele, Brian Cyril Griffiths: MCMagma, Maggio-Giugno, 2002

    2001Güner, Fisun, The doughnut concept: creativity and commerce, Metro Life, May, 2001
    Sevastopoulou, Stella, After the British Storm, Athens News, October, 2001
    Kent, Sarah, Future Prospects: Who deserves to win the Beck’s Futures prize?, Time Out, April, 2001 Profile, Art Review, April, 2001
    Morton, Tom, Brian Griffiths: Vilma Gold, Frieze, 2001
    Home is where the art is, The Time Out Guide to Tate Britain, Time Out, 2001
    Campbell-Johnston, Rachel, Lots of cash, but less cachet, The Times, 4 April 2001
    Sumpter, Helen, Here’s one I made earlier, The Big Issue, April, 2001
    Cumming, Laura, An odds-on favorite (City Racing 1998-1999), The Observer Review, 28 January, 2001 Jury, Louise, Going cheap – tomorrow’s Turner Prize-winning work, Independent on Sunday, 14
    January, 2001

    2000Lucie-Smith, Edward, The Saatchi Decade and Beyond, Art Review, February, 2000 O’Reilly, Sally, These Epic Islands: Vilma Gold, magazine, January 2000
    Williams, Gilda, Point of View: Richard Salmon, Time Out, March, 2000 Williams, Gilda, These Epic Islands, Art Monthly, March, 2000, p.233-234

    1999Buck, Louisa, Arty Like It’s 1999, Esquire, January, 1999
    Kent, Sarah, Boy’s zone: Saatchi’s unlikely lads and girl’s power, Time Out, January, 1999 McLaren, Duncan, Urban Spacemen, Contemporary Visual Arts, 1999
    Jones, Jonathan, Not much to shout about, Observer, 1999
    Burton, Jane, The fine art of selling, Metro, 7 January 1999

    1998‘East’, Art Monthly, September, 1998

    1997Herbert, Martin, Gonzo, Time Out, 1997
    Sewell, Brian, Scandal of the shoddiest show in town, Evening Standard, 21 August, 1997

    Awards and Residencies

    2010International Residency Programme, Pittsburgh (Mark Garry)