The Plumbers (Hygienic Gaze)
30 April – 7 June 2014
Wednesday – Friday 12-7pm, Saturday 12-6pm
PV: Tuesday 29 April 2014 6-9pm
A solo exhibition of London-based artist Edwin Burdis, using VITRINE's two spaces in Bermondsey. Includes paintings, works on paper, sound and performance. The work explores themes of identity and character through the lens of the artists’ loosely woven narrative.
Burdis realises work via a diverse spectrum of production that spans painting, sound, sculpture and drawing. Increasingly, his physical work then lays down a platform for building narrative or performance, as seen in his recent series of operettas.
‘The Plumbers’ is a new series of paintings, in which the artist carves life-size figures from MDF then in his signature style, using household acrylic paint; he brings a spectrum of characters to life. A tribe of plumbers with names and individual characters, waiting to enter centre stage. Concomitantly each one is a self-portrait of a young man in all his contemporary guises. These works are also the first series to incorporate collage within the paint; eyes, pearl earrings and clothing embellishments.
Edwin Burdis describes his “own cast of characters - The players. the singers. the losers and the winners. a band. a bunch. a group. clean water in to the home. clean water forever. boiling hot and ice cold. clean good water for all.”
Having clean water in your home is the height of contemporary sophistication and innovation, a reality that Burdis is quick to point out and threads through these works. Drinking, taking a shower, using the toilet or running a tap; these everyday tasks are depicted by a number of the paintings. The tools of our luxury – spanners, pipes and violin playing cats - are hung amongst them, also painted and cut from MDF.
As in Burdis’ recent works ‘Mega Dairy Pig Farm’ and ‘Fruit Machine’ the workings of Britain are explored with an intelligent combination of sincerity and wit; the worker, the farmer and the plumber form the highest priesthood. A new sound work will be presented alongside the series. Giving a voice to these characters and an amalgamation of found material, which Burdis shrewdly mixes into an operatic soundtrack.
Edwin Burdis (b. Newcastle, 1974) has significantly contributed to the London art scene for over a decade. He has collaborated with numerous artists, writers and musicians, including Bonnie Camplin, Steven Claydon, Mark Leckey, Kieron Livingstone and Heather Phillipson and in bands Man Like Me, DonAteller, Jack too Jack and Longmeg. His work has been presented internationally in solo exhibitions and performances at, amongst others, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge; Zabludowicz Collection, London; Gavin Brown Enterprise, New York; BROADWAY 1602, New York; Max Wigram Gallery, London; Hayward Gallery Project Space, London, and Arnolfini, Bristol. His work has also been presented in group exhibitions at galleries, institutions and museums internationally, including ICA, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Focal Point Gallery, Southend; Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, and Skanes Kunstforening, Malmo. He was included in Tom Morton’s curated exhibition ‘Recent British Painting’ at Grimm Gallery, Amsterdam In 2012 and has recently received an Arts Council Bursary to produce ‘Grey, Dark Green’, a feature length operatic film work on Britain, which will culminate with a major UK tour of the film in late 2014 and 2015 to institutions including: MK Gallery, Milton Keynes; Arnolfini, Bristol; and Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts (LICA).