John Smith

28 November 2011
The Black Tower

Ferens Art Gallery

The Ferens Art Gallery opened in 1927 and holds an impressive collection of European Old Master paintings with a particular focus on portraiture. Key works include those by Frans Hals, Jusepe de Ribera, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, George Stubbs, Wyndham Lewis, Sir Stanley Spencer and Sir Roland Penrose. Broader perspectives on the notion of identity and the portrait/self portrait continue as a theme. The contemporary collection holds significant works particularly acquired through the Contemporary Art Society’s Special Collection Scheme and includes contemporary photography and moving image works.

John Smith has inspired many artists since his first films were made in the 1970’s, Girl Chewing Gum and The Black Tower amongst them.

This meticulously-made work, regarded as a classic experimental film, makes an exciting addition to the Ferens collection. It tells the story of a man haunted by the appearance of a tower, where the character only ever appears in the narrative voice-over. The humour that threads its way through Smith’s work is particularly melancholic in this work. Here Smith draws upon the raw material of common experience, transforming reality in a way that we can all identify with.


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