Interview with Benjamin Murphy prior to Lavish Entropy his latest solo exhibition
It’s a roasting hot day in the city of London and the team at the Delphian Gallery have just finished the hang of Benjamin Murphy’s latest exhibition, ‘Lavish Entropy’.
As we now expect from work by Murphy, it’s another black and white spectacular using the electrical tape which has become his trademark. This time however extra dimensions have been added, particularly in the use of layered glass to create a 3D effect, it means that within many of the pieces there is a richness of detail not seen in previous outings.
“The show was a bit of an afterthought really” says Ben when I ask him where the idea for the exhibition came from. His main focus over the past year has actually been the writing of a play, a page of which is showcased in the gallery. Incorporating single lines from other already existent published works of classic literature, Murphy has blended them altogether to create a whole new piece. He describes it as a new linear narrative, albeit one that is meant to be read as opposed to performed.
Much of the art work produced seems to have been inspired by this process of writing and he tells me that the images on the walls are more representative of the works that he has been reading. Not necessarily inspired by one particular piece of literature but instead all being a kind of artistic outlet for what he had been reading.
Called ‘Flowering Desolation‘, Murphy tells me that the story which emerged in the play is in some way inspired by the works of Marcel Proust one of his favourite writers. The exhibition opening date of 10 July is also a nod in Proust’s direction given that it is the writers birthday. Proust’s influence also has more than a passing reference in the show with a number of the pieces making reference to the author in some way.
“The plan was to take some time off from doing the tape drawings to do that” he tells me when talking about his desire to write the play. “But then, just out of compulsion… because I can’t help it I just ended up just doing all the drawings anyway.” Only at the end of the process did he realise that the works created during the time spent writing the play actually formed their own series. Themselves they became part of the creative process he was undertaking.
The title of the show ‘Lavish Entropy’ is also reflective of Murphy’s love of words. A play on the title of his previous show ‘Gilded Chaos‘ which showcased at the Beers London Gallery. Lavish being something which you could use as a descriptor for something Gilded and ‘Entropy’ being a word which means ‘lack of order’, again something which could easily descend into chaos.
You can see the evolution in Murphy’s work. He reminisces about the time he first used electrical tape as a medium. That was in 2012 with a nine story high mural on the side of a multi-storey car park in Shoreditch. The piece, for anti-slavery international, garnered a huge amount of attention and so he thought he would see just how far he could take it. Since then he’s experimented with a number of street pieces and has had a number of exhibitions, many of which we’ve featured here on Inspiring City.
“It was never an intentional thing” says Ben when I ask about where the tape drawing in particular came from. The result of a night out in his native Yorkshire, “it wasn’t even my idea” he says before explaining how rolling in one evening he and a friend decided that it would be a good idea to start making art with electrical tape on the wall. Not thinking any more of it prior to moving to London when he then decided to make something out of tape to put into an exhibition and that was that.
“From that people just kind of expected if from me” he tells me “so I started to try and push it as a medium and I just fell in love with it.”
‘Lavish Entropy’ the solo exhibition from Benjamin Murphy is showing at the 67 York Street Gallery and is curated by the Delphian Gallery. It runs from 10-15 July 2018. The play which inspired the exhibition ‘Flowering Desolation’ can be downloaded for free here.
Lavish Entropy Gallery
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