Van Gogh House presents Life and its most trivial particulars by artists Brian Griffiths and Frank Kent, opening 4 September–18 December 2021. The exhibition is the first in a new annual commissioning programme at Van Gogh House, marking 50 years since 87 Hackford Road was found to be the London residence of the renowned Dutch artist.
In the form of a photographic installation across all eight rooms of the restored 3-storey Georgian terraced house, Life and its most trivial particulars responds to the accumulated histories and constructed realities of the building, from the early 19th century to the present day. Transposing still life and landscape, everyday materials and objects, sculptors Griffiths and Kent present their carefully staged and situated photographs as sideways moments of focus and narrative.
Drawing on themes from Van Gogh’s life and work, Life and its most trivial particulars builds associated fictions and connections that reflect Griffiths’ and Kent’s own imaginings of the artist, his myth and legacy. The works are informed by a wide range of references from Van Gogh’s early works such as Potato Field (1883), the artist’s evolving colour palette, Bob Law’s sculpture Vincent’s Chair (1984) and the writings of Charles Dickens; to the sight of a church roof in Gainsborough, a Japanese parasol, and everyday found objects collected from car boot sales and Griffiths’ and Kent’s studios. Within the composition of each photograph is an open cube, a framing device that presses objects into action and flattens three-dimensional space. The objects are arranged with an improvised formality, the resulting images depicting spaces that appear both imagined and ordered, and often with a comedic edge.