Stuart Brisley
Recent Paintings from the Museum of Ordure

14th October - 21st November 2020

Palettes from The Museum of Ordure 2020
Acrylic on gesso on canvas, 92 cm x 122 cm

Statement for Lungley Gallery

This exhibition is comprised of four recent works. 

Works on paper:

One and two: These show the head of State, Queen Elizabeth II. One is a painting, the other is a painting and a drawing.
Three: A drawing of multiple heads with disfiguring grimaces.

Painting on canvas:

This painting materially utilises the paints used in the other paintings on paper.

The connecting image in the works on paper is that of capturing the Head of State by the paparazzi in private moments inside a vehicle. Privacy implies a state of being concealed which the actions of the paparazzi exposes. The image is then forged and monetised.

In the first painting the Monarch inside her car appears to be surprised at such an imposition.

In the second painting and drawing she is similarly caught but this time in an 18th Century carriage taking her to and from the Houses of Parliament with the calculation of exposure.

In these images colours have been altered by using the cheap reproduction process of photocopying. By copying and altering the newspaper print the image is further veiled revealing the technical process thus distancing its relationship to the original source which had previously gone through another transcription in order to be printed in a newspaper.

The drawing of the heads was made to be a thing in itself. However, when searching for works to complete the exhibition it was viewed as a critical contribution.

The final work is a materialist painting of the surface of foam boards used as substitutes for conventional palettes to make the other paintings in the show. I have reproduced the palettes as exactly as I can, hence it's materiality. The surrounding marks are made from the residues of the remains of paint.

Curiously enough, during the process of painting, the ghost of a subject emerged and refused to die, with a topical value, namely the current virus.

Stuart Brisley

4 September 2020

The Museum of Ordure is a speculation on the roles and dichotomies of the museum where the contradictions of the civilising processes are in the context of the real politique. Its aim is to reveal an underbelly where the collective unconscious breaks out into the world. It follows the traditions of exposure from the middle ages through to the present day. Naturally enough it is itself an element of the conditions it examines.

R Y Sirb is the curator and acting director of the Museum.

Stuart Brisley’s book Beyond Reason : Ordure was published in 2003 by Bookworks.

A new book titled The Stuart Brisley Interviews: Performance and its afterlives published this year by Bookworks is available to buy at the gallery now. 



The Stuart Brisley Interviews : Performance and its After-Lives

This series of interviews, held by curator and writer Gilane Tawadros are focussed entirely on Stuart Brisley’s practice and directed by him. The artist’s narration of his practice demonstrates an unswerving resistance to controlling the narrative or fixing the meaning of his works. Citing the Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector, Brisley emphasises the critical importance of error to the creation of his performances: ‘You can say what you’re going to do, you can think about it, you can prepare it, and then when you start, it’s all disappeared because it’s actually meaningless... errors make for where the key value lies.’ The enduring resonance of Brisley’s work lies in its formless and slippery characteristics that resonate so poignantly with our shared human condition.

Published by Book works; 2020. Co-Series; 128 pages; 170 x 220 mm; 1,000; ISBN: 978 1 912570 0 96


RRP £17.50

RRP £17.50 Exhibition price £15.00

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Beyond Reason: Ordure
‘Dirt is universal, a-historical even. Homogeneity at ground level, mediated by the universal glue of sputum and excreta. Differentiated at the surface by the droppings of local and global consumption, the deposits of fast food, broken furniture, news media debris, plastic bags, condoms, sanitary towels, cigarette butts, betting slips, syringes etc.’ − Stuart Brisley

This is a book about ordure in all its manifestations − shit, dirt, trash, waste, pus, pollution and dogma. The fictional Collection of Ordure is the central object, its curator, collector and artist the main characters. Why amass a collection of objects that defy rationality and economic worth? At the very nub of global capitalism, a nebulous but omnipresent stench that pervades everything, ordure is the final commodity. Influential performance artist, Stuart Brisley, has constructed a perverse narrative that takes us through the silt of commonly recognised social order. We discover a world inhabited by Louise Bourgeois’ leg, Stakhanov’s finger, an albino snake, and the Berlin Wall. Language rots, reason implodes, time stutters and people burst into song in this exploration of the competing ideologies of West and East. A fused novel, Beyond Reason: Ordure is a book of scattered imagery, obsessive motifs, and the griminess of reality.

Published by Book Works. Beyond Reason: Ordure; 2003; Contributors: Martin, Craig (ed.); Document; Performative; Experimental writing; Offset printing; Black & white; Full colour; 136 pages; Soft cover; Design: Valle Walkley; 197mm x 128mm; Edition of 1,500 copies; ISBN: 978 1 870699 69 3


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