Tim Brennan: English Anxieties

14 Mar 2009 – 25 Apr 2009

Event times

Previews Friday 13th March 2009 6.30pm

Cost of entry



Cardiff, United Kingdom


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Ffotogaller presents English Anxieties by Tim Brennan


Ffotogallery presents new works by the prolific British artist, Tim Brennan. Following a commission by Ffotogallery and Photoworks, in association with the European Centre for Photographic Research Brennan's English Anxieties explores ideas associated with the work of the Mass Observation (M-O)Archive, based at the University of Sussex. The M-O Archive catalogues the work of Tom Harrisson, Charles Madge and Humphrey Jennings who founded an organization in 1937 with the objective to create an ‘anthropology of ourselves'. The M-O three recruited a team of observers and volunteer writers to subtly study the everyday lives of the ordinary British public. This surveillance, which seems to be rooted in anxieties of the time of invisible threats, espionage and enemy plots from the innards of common communities. Their own undercover observations recorded peoples' conversations and behaviour at work, on the street, at public meetings, sporting and religious events. This exhibition sees Brennan's reconfigured encounter with the archive, reflecting his interests in modernism and mirroring this underlying paranoia of the times. Divided into two sections, one around the theme of ‘unprofessional painting' — a reference to the work of the Ashington Miners who exhibited in London during the 1940s - Brennan creates a new archival space for the work as a dismantled artist's book whose pages consist of assemblages or still life tableaux made from the contents of M-O archival folders. In this installation elements of the archive pictured or imagined by Brennan, will be complemented by original items from the archive; the detached status of objects from the archival order of things gives them a different currency and dynamic as artefacts. The other section of the exhibition contains a series of large-scale line drawings derived from an idiosyncratic report of fifth-column or espionage activity taking place in Cambridgeshire during the 1940s. These are beautifully rendered as eloquent but minimalist drawings inspired by the graphic Isotype system, originally developed by Otto Neurath. For any more information call Ffotogallery on 029 2070 8870.

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