Andrew Barrow: Fools Paradise

6 - 31 October 2015
Conway Street, London

‘Brilliant…they certainly make interesting reading.’ - Ken Dodd, on Andrew Barrow's collages.

 

Winner of the Hawthornden Prize for his comic masterpiece The Tap Dancer, writer and artist Andrew Barrow creates collages which are like books. They are rich with stories and connections.

 

In each kitsch assortment of stamps, train tickets, washing instructions, sweet wrappers, novelty stickers and condiment labels, synergy builds between colours and shapes.  And yet, each found paper floats in the open space of its white backdrop, inviting us to read individual details.

 

These miscellanies of collected materials are punctuated by very personal moments - photographs of loved ones and family holidays, the artist himself, fixed amongst images of his comic heroes. And the red hoop of the London Underground symbol in each work bears Barrow's autograph, a nod back to his distant relative Edward Johnston who designed the tube roundel. The personal mixes with the arbitrary, nostalgia with the ultra-modern, sense with nonsense.

 

Such contrasts create words of folly. These are worlds in which Barrow clearly revels. Putting himself into these chaotic pictures, Barrow explains, indulges a joy in risk-taking, a pleasure in abandoning constraint - whatever the effects. After all, he stands by Salvador Dalí's principle that 'mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature’.