Vaughan Grylls Home

Vaughan Grylls was born December 10 1943. He studied sculpture at the Wolverhampton College of Art, where he was taught by sculptors Roy Kitchin and John Paddison, and then at The Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, where he was taught by sculptors Reg Butler and Philip King and by the philosopher Richard Wollheim.

Vaughan Grylls' work first came to public notice in 1970 in an exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London curated by Jasia Reichardt and entitled Ten Sitting Rooms. Grylls exhibited a room furnished with his pun-sculptures e.g. A Case for Wittgenstein. This consisted of two white plastic suitcases. On one he had written `I brought this in case' .The other had printed on it a photograph of the first , to which Grylls had added the words `A Case for Wittgenstein'. Other sculptures exhibited included A Quirkish Radiogram and Quirks of Art. Most of the work in Grylls' ICA exhibition had come straight from his graduating show at the Slade. At the Slade, Grylls had his pun- sculptures recorded by the Central Photographic Unit of University College London. The Unit normally worked with the Medical School and the Egyptology School of the College.

Grylls regarded their technically superb photographs of his work better than the works he had made - in more than just the visual sense. He resolved thenceforth to make work that was photographic. This he felt, provided a neat juxtaposition with his interest in linguistic philosophy as both were concerned with contextualisation.

Grylls then made a series of works designed to appear as photographs with accompanying text in newspapers or Art journals under the guise of `Letters to the Editor'. Works in this category included A Case in Point (The Sunday Times) and This is not an Advertisement (Studio International).

In late 1973 Grylls joined forces with fellow Slade graduate Nicholas Wegner as Co-Director of The Gallery London, located at 65 Lisson Street NW1. The first work presented by Grylls was entitled An Indo-Chinese Pun-Sculpture. Grylls then introduced the notion of `Display Exhibitions'. He had been impressed by The Kodak Galleries on his first trip to New York where impressive energy had been devoted to technique and presentation, but little, if nothing to content. Works presented as Display Exhibitions by The Gallery London were anonymous in that there was no `artist'(eg 7th Kolner Kunstmarkt, Drug Abuse in Maine, The Floods in Egypt, Mine, Contemporary Art ). The policy of maintaining artistic anonymity continued up to John Latham - Offer for Sale. In this work the artist's name and material became an integral part of the work itself.

Grylls left The Gallery London in 1975, although it continued to exhibit Display Exhibitions under the sole direction of Wegner until 1978. In 1978 , using a telephoto lens, and colour photocopies from slides, Grylls produced his first panoramic photocollage, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul , exhibited later that year at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London.

This was followed in 1979 by The Wailing Wall, Jerusalem and In Flanders Fields.. The style Grylls developed was influenced by that used by several Victorian panoramic photographers and by Jan Dibbets earlier in that decade. However, in the early 1980s, David Hockney presented it to the general public as `Joiners' - an original method of using a camera to create new works. This propelled it into common usage in the popular media.

Vaughan Grylls is probably best known for his work with The Gallery London and for his enormous panoramic photocollages such as Site of the Assassination of President Kennedy.

About Vaughan Grylls

Born 10th December 1943 in Newark, Nottinghamshire and attended art schools at Nottingham, Wolverhampton, Goldsmiths' and the Slade. He has taught at several art schools in the UK and the US.

From 1996 to 2005 he was Director of the Kent Institute of Art and Design. In 2005 he resigned to concentrate full-time on his own work after joining the Kent and the Surrey Institutes of Art and Design to make the University for the Creative Arts.

″I still use the same approach to my work: I get an idea, think of the title and then make the work. So not much has changed since 1964″

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