Some actors and stars constantly angle for the media spotlight out of fear that their fame will somehow disappear if they don’t. And then there’s Bill Murray, who marches to a completely different drum—one as varied, comical and absurdist as his many film roles. Over the last few years, Murray has been about as omnipresent as a minor deity, spontaneously interacting with the public, not only to surprise the masses but to merely humor himself.
So it’s no real surprise to see UK artist Brian Griffiths, who creates large-scale sculptures and installations, celebrate Murray the persona, the artist, and the icon, with the new exhibition BILL MURRAY: a story of distance, size and sincerity. Now on at BALTIC in Gateshead, UK, Griffiths’s exhibition imaginatively explores the Murray that pops up in the damnedest of places, and fuses it with the cinematic worlds he has inhabited.
For the exhibition, Griffiths fashioned and presents a series of nine different style buildings that imagine Murray’s various “activities and pastimes.” There is a “lavish” LA beach house, a historic Scottish Mansion, and an ocean adventure dome that references Murray’s role in Wes Anderson’s Jacques Cousteau homage, The Life Aquatic.
“A complex assemblage of these architectural models, light, everyday objects, and a documented performance of Bill Murray creates a metaphysical adventure story and a fantasy caricature complete with whisky minibar, grand piano and helicopter,” BALTIC explains in describing the exhibition. “[It’s] an exhibition that enjoys and considers the effects of small, miniature, big, gigantic, the scaled up and scaled down, detail and overview. It is an exhibition that questions how one experiences and measures things.”
BALTIC adds that the exhibition encourages comparisons and contrasts “instabilities and slipperiness” in attempting to use “exaggeration as a means of revelation.” It wants viewers to experience both intimacy and grandeur, while also showing the production and consumption involved in a Hollywood life, even one as unpredictable and humorous as Murray’s.
Also appearing on BALTIC’s north facade is 65' banner created by Griffiths, which reproduces the image of Bill Murray at Cannes Film Festival snapping photos of paparazzi. This will run for the duration of the exhibition.
BILL MURRAY: a story of distance, size and sincerity runs until February 28, 2016 at BALTIC in Gateshead.