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About the Work

One afternoon I went to a poorly attended matinee in Charing Cross Road of a film entitled 'The Greatest Story Ever Told'. At a very solemn moment, the music swelled, and the previously dead Lazarus emerged into the sunlight. As a sunbeam highlighted his face, making it even whiter, a drunk in the row behind me bellowed 'lardface!' This made me laugh so uncontrollably that shortly afterwards I found myself emerging into the sunlight walking back to the Slade to make a sculpture about remarkable recoveries.
The sculpture consisted of two sections - before and after. The before section looked as if two upright boards supporting one another had fallen flat on their faces and had lost all life in doing so. The boards also looked liked a book with a soft cover left open and face down. The after section showed them standing upright again. The surfaces of both sections carried line drawings of the sculpture in the upright position. The transformation element was particularly interesting to me, as the before section had drawings on itself of how it would become, or how it had once been, depending on your temporal point of view. On part of the after section I scrawled 'lardface!' in big ugly letters, thus finishing the piece.
Robert Adams, the distinguished sculptor, came to see the Slade students' work. He said that this was a well-made work which would be better with no drawings on it at all. He thought I'd ruined a rather good sculpture. He was a true formalist.

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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