Arnolfini
Black and white video still capturing movement. A person, undistinguishable is moving between large sheets of white flowing fabric covered in black graphic writing.

IAN BREAKWELL

Saturday, 10th July 2021 to Sunday, 17th October 2021, 11:00 to 18:00
Dates subject to Government guidance around Covid.
Free

image: Ian Breakwell & Mike Leggett, ‘Unword’, 1970 & 2003, black & white video still
courtesy of Anthony Reynolds Gallery

 

Ian Breakwell (1943-2005) was a unique figure in the development of art in the UK, in the latter part of the twentieth century. Born into a working-class family in Derbyshire in 1943, Ian Breakwell drew on a range of cultural influences, including vaudeville and variety acts (he had performed as a stage magician as a child), as well as conceptual art practices. His work was created through a range of media, including performance, film, television broadcasts, and writing, as well as painting, collage and drawing. Running through it all is a recurrent focus on everyday life, approached through overlooked, humorous or surreal perspectives.

He studied at the West of England College of Art in Bristol, and programmed at the Bristol Arts Centre in the late 1960s. His work was shown at Arnolfini on several occasions through the 1970s and 80s, in both solo and group exhibitions. In this anniversary presentation, in Gallery 5 we are showing part of the Continuous Diary project, which Breakwell is best known for (and which was the focus of his 1977 exhibition at Arnolfini); Carry More Home It’s Smart to be Greedy, which was commissioned by Arnolfini for the digital newscaster outside the Bristol Hippodrome, as part of the exhibition On Site (also 1977); while in the Dark Studio we are showing UNWORD (1969/2003), a film created with Mike Leggett from a series of performance pieces of the same name, partly shot in Bristol.

This is accompanied in the Reading Room by a display of material from Arnolfini’s archive, giving insight into how Breakwell’s work was presented and received in Bristol at the time, and responses by young artists working in Bristol today.

An illustration of a red steam train with black engine, steam coming out of the funnel, against a grey background. Underneath are the words Slow it down, look longer, in black type, then in red type, stop the train.

Slow it down, look longer, stop the train, is a publication created by four students on the BA (Hons) Fine Art course, UWE Bristol – Rosie Bales, Rebecca Edery, Holly Humphries, and Holly Stone. A creative response to Ian Breakwell’s work, it was developed as part of a work experience placement at Arnolfini, in Spring 2021.

Download Slow it down, look longer, stop the train here.

The Ian Breakwell content is part of Arnolfini at 60, a programme celebrating Arnolfini’s 60th anniversary in 2021.

Presented in association with Anthony Reynolds Gallery.

 

Audio Descriptions
There are audio descriptions of the works in the exhibition, accessible via QR Code in Gallery 5

You can also hear them here:

 

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