Self – Conscious: Brian Griffiths

19 Sep 2020 – 13 Dec 2020

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

Cricklewood Library

England, United Kingdom


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SELF – CONSCIOUS is an artwork by Brian Griffiths at Cricklewood Library. Conceived as a parallel lending library of selected books paired with sculptures.



In line with the latest government guidance, Brent Biennial indoor installations and exhibitions will close to the public temporarily from Thu 5 Nov. Including all artworks sited in Brent council and community libraries. Read the full statement here.


At time of publication this new community library is not complete. SELF – CONSCIOUS will be installed and wait for the library to open before lending. SELF – CONSCIOUS is on view during this wait.

‘We are told that there is a tall wooden cupboard in Cricklewood Library, standing somewhat incongruous. This holds nine books and nine boxed, and therefore hidden, sculptures.

We are told when loaning one of these books a bespoke sculpture will be loaned for the same period, to be taken home.

We are told that at the end of the loan period, the sculpture and book must be placed back in the box and returned to the tall wooden cupboard, still standing somewhat incongruous.’

We are told that Griffiths has always loved a good story. He believes that stories help us to ennoble ourselves, to fix what was broken in us, and to help us become the people we dreamed of being. Lies that tell a deeper truth.

We are not told that the artist has his own agenda in the story. He may mislead or cover mistakes, to do anything else is not staying in character.

We are not told that Brian is concerned with point of view, experimenting in the persuasions and limits of a first-person narrator.’


"Since graduating from Goldsmiths College in the late 1990’s I have been making sculptures and object installations full of overblown theatricality and pathos.

I like to tell stories however clichéd and timeworn. I want to make art that is staged, always pretending. I value the dramatisation of space, and work to direct audiences both physically and imaginatively. Objects, images and characters become materials to be laid out and persuaded to perform. My approach to visual languages and genres feels like trying on ornate fancy dress - to be enjoyed, and changed frequently.

I think with things, they become vocabulary, a way to start. I am driven by a curiosity in objects and our complex relations with them - how objects come to shape us; how we use them to create meaning, to organize our anxieties and affections, to sublimate our fears and shape our fantasies’.

I make sculpture because it sits in the world with us, like us. For me, self and stuff is always mixed up."

- Brian Griffiths


Brian Griffiths lives and works in London & Colchester.

Griffiths has exhibited at numerous museums and contemporary art centres including: BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, The Groninger Museum in Netherlands; Centre Pompidou in Paris; Tate Britain in London; Tramway in Glasgow; The Mattress Factory Museum in Pittsburgh, CAPC Museum in Bordeaux, Camden Arts Centre in London; Mostra D’Arte Contemporanea in Milan; Belém Museum of Modern Art in north Brazil.

Exhibiting artists

Brian Griffiths

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