Galpin puts elephant in Bethnal Green gallery

Richard Galpin, Elephant (Ten Thousand Revolutions per Minute), detail, 2014

Richard Galpin, Elephant (Ten Thousand Revolutions per Minute), detail, 2014 - Credit: Archant

Elephant, an ambitious exhibition brings artist Richard Galpin’s massive scale projects to life this April.

Richard will present his wall-based work at Hales Gallery, in Bethnal Green Road, featuring towering block colour composition.

Nine large photographic panels will be framed within a steel-studded structure.

The magnitude of the project lends itself to the subject matter, Elephant and Castle, which is explored prominently.

Richard said: “I’ve never attempted to work on this scale before - I thought it was important that the work was totally immersive. This piece is pretty big and monumental - that felt right for something that dealt with the Elephant & Castle. It’s a fairly uncompromising place.”

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Richard wanted to examine the themes of structure and surface which have taken on a new meaning in his recent art.

He explained: “The quality of surfaces in the built environment really interest me and the way they tell a story about the place - the history that gets laid down with all the marks and scratches and wear of everyday life.

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“But the surfaces have to be maintained, cleaned, re-painted, renewed. This process which applies to cities as whole is cyclical and ongoing - we’re talking about renewal and regeneration.

“Painted surfaces in the built environment have a particular quality because they bear the marks of the labour involved in their repainting.”

Richard has reinforced this by employing an electric sander to use on the photographs, mimicking the erosion of building surfaces.

This is an attempt to overthrow his previous scalpel cut work for which he is best known.

He said: “With the new sanded photographs I was looking for a way of working that was more free, more unpredictable, and over which I had much less control.”

The exhibition will show from April 18 to May 31.

Hales Gallery is open Wednesday to Saturday from 11am to 6pm, or by appointment.

For more information, call 020 7033 1938.

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