The exhibition will take the visions of Mordor in West Midlands raised J.R.R. Tolkien’s work to explore links between the BlackCountry’s industrial landscape and Tolkien’s fantasy fiction. Using Tolkien’s abhorrence of industry as a starting point, the exhibition will explore a spectrum of artistic responses, from the early 1900s to present day, to the industrialisation of the Black Country and surrounding region, examining in particular the struggle for dominance between nature and industry. Artists in the show include Richard Billingham, Euripides Altintzoglou, Brian Griffin and Game of Thrones illustrator Ted Nasmith. Earlier industrial visions of fantasy come from author Mervyn Peake, best known for his Gormenghast trilogy, but who also painted the glassblowers of Smethwick’s Chance Brothers factory; early 20th century artists Edward Wadsworth, Edwin Butler Bayliss; and mid-20th century Clive Arthur Gardiner and Michael Ayrton.
The exhibition will open at Wolverhampton Art Gallery on 20 September 2014 and will run until 15 January 2015.