“All work needs content,” says Brisley, “without content there is no work.” Alongside the distinct formalism that underpins six decades of practice, Brisley has unflinchingly probed the contemporary political, cultural and social contexts in which we live, in particular the monarchy and the British class system.
Commissioned by Modern Art Oxford Stuart Brisley’s new sculptural work State of Denmark incorporates a crown which hangs above a wedge shaped structure with an open end. One side of which symbolizes the monarchy with the other representing a republican proposition. Overlooking the sculpture is a balcony and inside a pencil portrait of the child prince George can be seen. Visitors are invited to comment on the subjects of monarchy and republicanism on the panels which form an integral part of the work.
This show also includes film and performance photography of some of Brisley’s most iconic work and traces enduring themes in his work such as the body as a tool for directly addressing individual autonomy and fundamental notions of power, authority, community and freedom.
State of Denmark surveys the breadth and consistent inventiveness of Brisley’s practice and asserts his influence of one of the most important and enduring voices in international contemporary art.
Download the Exhibition Notes here: Stuart Brisley Exhibition Notes
Download the Activity Guide here: Stuart Brisley Activity Guide
Stuart Brisley is widely regarded as a key figure of British performance art. He is best known for the series of key performance related works created in the 1970s and 80s that re-defined what “performance art” might be and encompass. Brisley used his body as a metaphorical and allegorical site to enact and comment upon how the individual situates him/herself between authority and freedom.
Over the last 60 years, Brisley has been creating innovative and diverst work that engages with the most traditional of forms, alongside performance, of painting, photography, sculpture, video and drawing.
His is a combative art involving the politicization of the body, and is imbued with a deep understanding of how rituals function in society and how they can be used to produce insights into the way society operates.
From his early projects in 60s post–war Germany to his pioneering archival Peterlee Project 1976–1977, from his recurring engagement with the politics of Northern Ireland to his more recent critique of the British monarchy and systems of power, Brisley's art, wholly international in scope, conveys a profound and singular voice, one that increasingly reaches out in its influence to a younger generation of artists working today.