Bob and Roberta Smith I AM A LIVING SIGN

Hales Gallery is pleased to present I AM A LIVING SIGN, The Bob and Roberta Smith Diaries. The show is their second at the gallery and brings together two recent strands of the artists work; the Diary Pages and the bronze Thought Examination sculptures. The extraordinary diary pages are painted on large wooden panels and line the gallery‚s walls from floor to ceiling. Each page is created in Bob and Roberta Smith‚s unique style that celebrates the vernacular skills of jobbing signwriters. The diary texts themselves are by turns funny and sad: 14th February 1984, I had Tickets to see the Smiths tonight. I was excited. My friend Ian had seen them support the Fall and he said they were good. I had their first album and liked it very much. This afternoon Mum rang to say this time Dad was really dieing. He had cancer in his gut. I phoned the Hospital, They said to hurry because he did not have long. I gave my Smiths tickets away. As the train sped through Doncaster station it began to rain. I thought the Smiths will be opening their show with either, ‘Girl Afraid’ or ‘Back to the Old House’. By the time I made it to Northallerton General Hospital my Dad had died. Bob and Roberta Smith believe that we should all try to understand the stories that make up our lives. Although their new show is reflective of their own experience, often it is cultural and political events common to all that have informed their opinions. The Thought Examination sculptures are placed in the centre of the gallery, each supported by their own homemade plinth. The works are made up of a series of cast bronze vegetables or fruits balanced on top of each other to create strange forms reminiscent of 20th Century modernist sculpture. Thought Examination was the term given to a punitive form of self incrimination used during the Cultural Revolution in China. Unfortunate Chinese citizens accused of bourgeois tendencies, were forced to write down their ideas, attitudes and relationships. Bob and Roberta Smith see their Thought Examination sculptures as three dimensional Rorschach ink blots that mirror in a more benign way, the process enforced by misguided youth during the Cultural Revolution. Bob and Roberta Smith are interested in what you can make of them. During the show people will be invited to draw the sculptures. However, after the process of drawing there will be no imprisonment or torture! Fast becoming recognised for their politically astute artwork and crazy performances, Bob and Roberta Smith have been widely tipped to win the Fourth Plinth Commission for Trafalgar square. Adrian Searle (The Guardian) says that Bob and Roberta Smiths proposal, Œhas a brazen vitality reminiscent of 1960s French nouveau réalisme∑..It is stupid, but oddly, uplifting. Man the barricades!‚ Tom Lubbock (The Independent) ŒBob‚s is the only one worth building‚ and The Times list Bob and Roberta Smith‚s Faîtes L‚Art Pas La Guerre top of their list of the hopeful entries. Bob and Roberta Smith live and work in London. Currently their work can be seen in Tate Britain as part of the gallery‚s recent re-hang. They have been exhibited world wide including Paul Thek, In the context of today‚s contemporary art, ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe, Germany 2008, Shop Local, Peer Gallery, London (2007), Hearing Voices, Seeing Things, Serpentine Gallery London (2006), Centre of the creative Universe: Liverpool and the avant-garde, Tate Liverpool (2006), The New York Art Amnesty, Pierogi, New York 2002 and Make me a Sandwich, Richard Heller Gallery LA (2001). Bob and Roberta Smith‚s work is included in many public and private collections around the world including the Tate collection (UK), Arts Council collection (UK), British Council collection and the Goss-Michael foundation (USA).

Hales Gallery

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