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Solo show: Brian Catling & the head of Bobby Awl (over)

12 January 2008 until 19 January 2008
  Brian Catling & the head of Bobby Awl
Brian Catling, The head of “Bobby Awl”, original 19th century plaster death-mask. Collection of SNPG, Edinburgh
  Ingleby Gallery

Ingleby Gallery
15 Calton Road
Edinburgh, Scotland EH8 8DL
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tel +44-(0)131-556 4441

Brian Catling
& the head of "Bobby Awl"

12th to 19th January 2008

The exhibition will be open every day from 10am to 5pm within the dates of the show.

We are pleased to announce the 14th in our series of 26 exhibition projects which began in July 2007 and will end in July 2008 when the gallery will be exactly ten years old. Each of the 26 installations presents a conversation between one invited artist and a counterpoint of their choice. In August 2008 we will publish a book documenting the year's exhibitions.

Brian Catling (born in London, 1948) is poet, academic, sculptor and performance artist whose current practice most often takes the form of video and live performance. These separate activities frequently come together - often in combination with his other raw materials: words and objects - to create events which resolutely defy categorisation. His work manifests an uncompromising desire to press the boundaries of what we call art, and what it can and should do. A performance at London's Serpentine Gallery in 1994 titled The Blindings, lasted an epic 9 days, and Antix, at Matt's Gallery also in London in 2006 evolved slowly over 16 consecutive nights, the artist having first made his arrival in a homemade boat he sailed up the Thames from his house in Oxfordshire.

For our forthcoming exhibition, Catling will present a series of new egg-tempera paintings he calls his "gritty little gems", tiny icon-like works of Cylopic figures which he has made in secret over the past 2 years. Though these have partly developed in response to his live performances, the artist has kept them deliberately distinct from his usual practice. These portraits of what should be monsters, possess a strange beauty and sympathy, and stem directly from an earlier series of paintings of the unfortunate 19th century Edinburgh 'idiot' Robert McFarlane or "Bobby Awl" who has long held a morbid fascination for Catling. The artist has closely guarded these works until now but we will show them for the first time alongside the original 19th century death mask of this bizarre and mysterious character from Edinburgh's past, on loan from the Collection of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, for whose assistance with this exhibition we express grateful thanks.

Brian Catling is currently Professor of Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford. He has made performances and installations across the world, and his prestigious commission for the site of execution at the Tower of London was unveiled in 2006. He has published eight books of poetry with a new volume based around an imagined conversation between the artist and the death mask of "Bobby Awl" released by the Etruscan press in 2007.

Brian Catling will be reading from his new publication at the preview of the exhibition on Saturday 12 January at 2pm. This event is free and all are welcome.

Brian Catling & the head of "Bobby Awl" Press Release as pdf-File 1,29 MB

For further information about this exhibition please contact Caroline Broadhurst or Dan Smernicki on 013 1 556 4441 or

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