Dilemmas for Margate: Should I Stay or Should I Go? New banners have appeared in Margate designed to animate the High Street. They were created by the internationally renowned artist Bob and Roberta Smith the project was initially commissioned by Turner Contemporary to create this striking banner installation in 2006.
Bob and Roberta Smith is a pseudonym for the artist Patrick Brill. His work is held in many collections around the world including Tate. He was commissioned by London 2012 to create a poster for the Paralympic Games. Smith believes in art and democracy and thinks ‘it is with the small ‘p’ politics that you can effect change as an artist’. His work offers a critique of artists and the art world and references art history as well as popular culture. He paints slogans in a unique brightly coloured lettering style on banners and discarded boards of wood and exhibits them in galleries of contemporary art across the world. The slogans are usually humorous musings on art, politics, popular culture, Britain and the world in general, and they often support his activist campaigns.
The banner series presents eight ‘Dilemmas for Margate’ in the form of ‘either or’ questions – some obvious, some less so. The aim is to engage passers-by with the two sided coin of gentrification and regeneration through posing these ambiguous questions. What are the dilemmas? Turner or Terry? Arctic Monkeys or Mantovani? Kent or Cornwall? Love or Hate? Mountain Top or Seaside? Britain or Brittany? In or Out? Fish ‘n’ Chips or Dover Sole?
Smith’s use of colour in these banners seeks to highlight the questions but also brightens up the street scene. Working with local signwriters, Smith gave precise instructions about the colours to be used and also the typeface. The banners are on display from Thursday 6 September – Sunday 28 October 2012. After this period the festive lights will be returned to the High Street. Turner Contemporary is committed to presenting high quality work that extends beyond the traditional ‘gallery space’ and through this helps to promote Margate as a visitor destination.
Bob and Roberta Smith’s work includes painting, sculpture, installation and performance. His work often contains a humorous and immediate message. He makes use of found and everyday materials and appropriates styles from other areas of daily life. Words and short slogans often feature in his practice and may sometimes contain mistakes to create puns and misunderstandings. The hand-crafted style of much of his work combined with its direct message often belies the depth and complexity of his ideas.
Smith has shown extensively in the UK and abroad and his work is represented in a number of public collections. Earlier this year, he worked with Peer on a project in East London to encourage people to ‘Shop Local’.
Bob and Roberta Smith is represented by Hales Gallery, London
Dilemmas for Margate Should I Stay or Should I Go? 6 September – 28 October 2012