14 October - 11 December, 2016
Revelations comprised a comprehensive survey of works by S Mark Gubb. Presented at Syson Gallery in Nottingham, it ploted over 20 years practice by the Cardiff based artist, mixing and matching the sacred and profane with the seemingly mundane and every day through a series of recreated installations, sculptures and editions alongside new work. Known for his iconic public art works such as the ten-metre tall freestanding lightning bolt, Alight, 2014 – one of Cardiff’s most beloved (and Instagrammed) public sculptures; Gubb revisited and recreated earlier works within the exhibition at Syson, including An Important Moment in Hi(ck)story, 2005 screening video footage of the invasion of Baghdad from Gulf War I, with an audio track made entirely of samples from Bill Hicks making gun and explosion noises. Butterfly, 2014 is a C-type print on aluminium which recreates of the urban legend whereby a school pupil enters an exam room, places two sharpened pencils up their nose, then head-butts the desk. The exhibition takes place a stone’s throw away from Nottingham Contemporary, where in 2009 Gubb installed a giant neon ‘Las Vegas’ style sign for the building with architects Caruso St John.
The exhibition also included previously unseen works from the artist’s own archives and was accompanied by a publication designed by Landfill Editions and Blue Firth featuring essays by Jonathan Griffin, Ellen Mara De Wachter, Jennie Syson and Ross Sinclair as well as comprehensive footnotes by the artist. Available from the gallery shop and online.
This exhibition was the first major project Gubb has undertaken with Syson Gallery and was preceded by participation in the third edition of START Art Fair at Saatchi Gallery in London. Gubb presented a new installation entitled Revelations: The Poison of Free Thought, Part I comprising reimagined religious robes made of denim fabric depicting the plans of Levittown houses - affordable housing for Americans after WWII.
In addition to the main exhibition at Syson Gallery and it’s offsite installation at Saatchi Gallery, the artist presented two site specific billboards – in Southampton as part of the British Art Show 8 Associate Programme and in Missouri, US as part of the i70 sign show. These billboards could be seen throughout October and November, 2016.
Throughout September – December, 2016 Gubb was also commissioned to create a specially designed guitar plectrum to be used at various venues to be used by Joey Z of Life of Agony.
The exhibition at Syson also coincided with Revelations: The Poison of Free Thought, Part II a major new sculptural work by the artist which was presented for Cardiff Contemporary at g39 in Wales. This new work was commissioned by Artangel and g39 and was made in response to Mike Kelley’s ‘Mobile Homestead’. Gubb’s installation evokes the curiosity of abandoned funfairs, shanty-towns, dystopian sci fi and 80s horror behind a veneer of humdrum respectability.
Supported by Artangel Collection & Mike Kelley Foundation.