Matthew Darbyshire

Matthew Darbyshire

Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre

Untitled (found photograph)

April 26, 2009

Matthew Darbyshire

20 May – 12 July 2009

Private view Weds 20 May, 6:30 – 8:30 pm.

Southbank Centre,
Belvedere Road,
London, SE1 8XZ

The Hayward Project Space presents a new work, Funhouse, by emerging British artist Matthew Darbyshire.

Darbyshire’s large scale installation takes its form from the funhouse – a type of fairground or seafront attraction characterised by wobbly mirrors, undulating floors, and other such wacky amusements that reached its high watermark of popularity in the 1980s. While traditional funhouses make use of generic cartoon-like shapes and primary colours, Darbyshire’s installation quotes from the ‘visitor-friendly’ design language of 21st Century British public and corporate architecture, calling into question the way in which it appeals to liberal humanist values such as inclusiveness, diversity and choice, but often flattens and oversimplifies them, emphasising an uncritical and stage-managed ‘fun’ over thoughtful and truly liberating engagement.

Architectural elements appropriated by Darbyshire include the Millennium Bull from Birmingham’s Millennium Point complex, adorned with soft drinks cans, a mural from the Coin Street Family and Children’s Centre in Waterloo, London, and an oversized ear from an Orange mobile phone shop in Glasgow. Borrowed or remade (sometimes with a telling twist), each of these fragments of Britain’s post-millennial built environment corresponds to a feature in the traditional funhouse – a remnant of an earlier leisure age.

Darbyshire’s installation employs a palette of bright oranges, magentas, purples, and neon greens that will be familiar to anybody who has visited an urban regeneration area, a flagship arts centre, or retail outlets such as Nike Town or The Apple Store. Hinting at the very particular way in which the state and commercial interests seek to control our experience of public space and our conception of the public sphere, the artist’s compendium of around 40 architectural motifs begs the question: ‘is this a people’s palace, or a very contemporary house of horrors?’

Funhouse is accompanied by the website designed by Matthew Darbyshire and Henry Proctor, with texts by Darbyshire, Proctor, Tom Morton, Fatima Hellberg and Louisa Adam. The site will go live on 20 May, 2009.

Matthew Darbyshire (born Cambridge, UK, 1977) graduated in 2005 from the Royal Academy Schools, London after completing his BA (Hons) at the Slade School, London. Recent exhibitions include AlterModern: The 2009 Tate Triennial at Tate Britain, Nought to Sixty at The ICA (2008) and Blades House at Gasworks (2008). He lives and works in London.

Funhouse was made possible with the help of funding from the Vauxhall Collective, a Vauxhall Motors’ arts initiative, which supports new creative talent in the UK in fields including film, fashion, visual arts and theatre.

Funhouse is curated by Tom Morton, Curator at The Hayward Gallery.

Opening hours for the Hayward Project Space:
10am – 6pm everyday, late night opening on Fridays until 10pm, during main gallery exhibition timetable.

The Hayward Project Space
The Hayward Project Space, which opened in summer 2007, showcases both up-and-coming contemporary artists from the UK and internationally, many of whom have not shown in the UK before. Recent exhibitions have included solo presentations of the work of Cyprien Gaillard, Guido van der Werve, Tim Lee and Ujino Muneteru.

Admission is free.

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Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre
April 26, 2009

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