Hello Leeds: A moving sculpture depicting a shattered modern Britain walks towards Leeds left bank

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From Tuesday, January 13 through Saturday, January 29, ‘Monster’, by renowned sculptor and artist Giles Walker, is a timely and provocative kinetic installation that explores some of the most difficult and disturbing issues facing modern Britain.

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‘Monster’ was first on display at Truman Stables, London, in December 2020 and is making its northern England debut at Left Bank Leeds.

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‘Monster’ was first on display at Truman Stables, London, in December 2020 and is making its northern England debut at Left Bank Leeds. Photo: Giles Walker.

The immersive installation features several haunting animatronic sculptures, made in Giles Walker’s studio in Brixton from scavenged materials, including high-heeled shoes, lamp shades, and strollers. The sculptures, which move like puppets and mouth along the accompanying expressionless soundtrack, represent many of the inhabitants of modern Britain as Giles sees them – shattered, divided and vacillating to the extreme. law.

“’Monster’ started with the idea of ​​building a play that played out the insecurities and pain of a nation in the midst of a common mental breakdown. A nation in poor health,” he said.

“I even gave the animatronic characters persistent dry coughs, which of course took on a heavier meaning by the time the piece was put on display after the pandemic. The piece is inherently political and is meant to provoke, captivate and disturb, and I hope the people of Leeds leave more intrigued than when they arrived.

The soundtrack was orchestrated by Paul Hartnoll of the legendary electronic duo Orbital and is equally haunting – with dystopian dialogues ranging from speeches by politicians to sound bites of outdated racist comedians.

The sculptures represent many of the inhabitants of modern Britain as Giles sees them – shattered, divided and wavering to the far right. Photo: Giles Walker.

“The work of art is to expose lies.” Giles explained, “My thought behind the article was that the establishment and the way it has held onto power all these years is based on lies and that kind of false narrative and I think the current government and its chaotic approach highlight this. “

Giles has been creating sculptures for 27 years. Initially a full-time member of the guerrilla art group, The Mutoid Waste Company, he began constructing pieces from materials found in junkyards as the pioneering collective roamed Europe.

“We were part of the squat scene and used to squat in large warehouses and make money by having warehouse parties where we displayed our sculptures and mutated vehicles.” Giles explained “I got hired in 1989 because they were going to Berlin to build a hammer machine to break the Berlin Wall and since then I have been working in sculpture.”

Left Bank Leeds, a former Grade II listed church, which sits in the heart of Burley, will host the event.

‘Monster’ is the second major contemporary art installation the venue has hosted this year alone, following the success of Leeds-based artist Pippa Hale’s ‘Heaven’ in Spring 2021.

Sue Jennings, Director of Left Bank Leeds added: “It is a huge blow for us to have Giles’ phenomenal work at Left Bank. After reopening earlier in the year with “Heaven,” which was positive and cheerful, we felt it was time to show a different chord to our bow and show totally opposite case work: haunting, dystopian and filled with horror.

“The complexity of Giles’ work is incredible and makes’ Monster ‘totally unmissable.”

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