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About the Work

Art Spectrum, held at Alexandra Palace in London, was the biggest exhibition of contemporary art in Britain.
I reproduced material about my work, which had appeared in the newspapers as huge photo blow-ups which I then displayed in the vast exhibition hall. I had been studying the appearance of commercial billboards. This approach seemed appropriate, as 'The Great Hall of Alexandria Palace' had been build originally as a commercial exhibition space. I then re-photographed these enlargements in situ with myself in the picture, wearing a suit and carrying a theatrical sword. This second series of photo blow-ups then followed the first along the walls of the 'Great Hall'. In the last of these, I changed the suit for a Roman uniform hired from a theatrical costumers and still carried the theatrical sword. This last photo blown up showed me in front of an enlargement of a whole page I had published in the art journal 'Studio International' to coincide with the exhibition. At the top of this page, the publishers stated 'This is not an advertisement,' something the editor Peter Townsend had suggested, as he was doing it for free. By re-photographing the original blow-ups in situ, I included reproductions of works by other artists, which happened to be near my work. This illustrated the appropriation of originals by advertisers (as well as pre-dating appropriation as an art form by a quarter of a century). I assumed that all the work exhibited had been selected; apparently it had not. This resulted in a large painting of a dog by a Peruvian artist finding its way into the show, but only as part of my work. His original painting had been rejected. The incident caused some consternation among the selectors after the artist demanded that my work should also be removed from the show. He threatened to remove it himself if action wasn't taken. It was suggested by a couple of exhibitors, Yoko Ono and John Lennon, that I should guard it with my toy sword, but this would have turned fantasy into reality. In this case, I wasn't prepared to go that far.

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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