Artlink’s latest exhibition brings puppets to life

Sculptor Brian Griffiths’ exhibition So he pulled the right levers and you did the asking is a curious showcase of puppets. With every puppet created either by the artist, his friends, his family or his colleagues, they are, the exhibition claims, ‘mostly real’.

Opening on 9 Oct at Artlink, this exhibition of self-portrait puppets makes for an interesting take on representation. With every potential to become imposters or impersonators, the puppets can be spoken through, or seemingly brought to life through imagination and will. The show invites you to let your imagination run free and consider the ways in which you might choose to present yourself.

But of course they’re objects too – handcrafted artefacts to be looked at and enjoyed.

Brian Griffiths is a Senior Lecturer at the Royal Academy Schools and is known for his theatrical sculpture and installation. He has exhibited throughout the UK and internationally, with recent shows at the BALTIC in Gateshead, Tramway in Glasgow and Galeria Luisa in São Paulo. Having studied Fine Art at Humberside University he’s no stranger to our region.

He’s invited a whole host of friends and family to contribute too, from recent fine art graduates, to his own mother, plus a scruffy miniature Yorkshire Terrier with three legs. The beauty of the exhibition lies in the radically different making experiences and resource that each creator brings to the exhibition, creating a varied range of puppets and ideas of self-representation.

Artist Luke Gottelier works with photography, painting and installation, and studied at Humberside University (1989-1992). His fellow alumni David Thorpe, who values the crafted object and its power to build alternative worlds also features. Their creations will feature alongside recent graduate Frank Kent’s – Frank was a postgraduate Fine Art student on the course Brian teaches. Writer Sally O’Reilly who has created work for The Royal Opera House and beyond contributes to the puppetry alongside Sally Shaw, curator and Director of contemporary art space Firstsite. These creators, plus many more, make for a diverse and interesting collection of puppets and makers.

You can see the full list of puppets and makers here. Catch So he pulled the right levers and you did the asking at Artlink, 9 Oct – 14 Dec.