Brian Griffin - The Black Kingdom

A visual autobiography of Brian Griffin's life during the 1950s and '60s, where everything surrounding him seemed to emanate from the factory. The Black Kingdom is a dissection of life in industrial England after the Second World War, showing the influences that would inspire the creative output of this highly successful photographer. In 2010, the innovative Black Country-raised portrait photographer Brian Griffin was commissioned to create a site-specific installation for an arts centre in a restored Cistercian abbey near Notre Dame, Paris. The result was a series of portraits and still-lifes combining religious iconography with autobiography; the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution. Edith Griffin, the portrait of his mother as a factory-worker (she had boxed headless nails), her hands dripping with "the sewage of industry", was the altarpiece. The Black Kingdom, in which family snapshots and other relics of Griffin's working-class childhood sit with strikingly original and frequently surreal new portraits, expands upon the exhibition, and combines a visual autobiography with a tribute to the industrial heritage of his childhood home. (Guardian Review)

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