Tuesday 28th Nov sees the opening of Stuart Whipps‘ exhibition Why contribute to the spread of ugliness at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham.

In Stuart’s words the work: “centres on the 487 boxes of archived paperwork of architectural firm the John Madin Design Group, stored in Birmingham Central Library. A multi-screen slide projection combines three strands of subject matter: the archival boxes, their contents (printed materials relating to Madin’s projects and the construction industry between the 1950s and 1970s) and the buildings to which they refer.”

I have a vested interest in the exhibition as I was involved with production of it, so seeing it come to fruition is a real treat. However this does mean that I find it difficult to comment on it beyond some warbling affirmation of greatness, so I’ll refrain.

Also on show, England and the Octopus. Britain and the Beast, which has Stuart maintaining his fondness for grandiloquent titles,  sees the revisiting of a town in North Wales -Blaenau Ffestiniog- a former quarry town which has been excluded from the national park borders, due to it “lacking sufficient beauty”. Stuart investigated the decision to exclude the area and discovered it was made, in part, by eccentric architect Clough Williams-Ellis, a man who regularly decreed that the common man did not understand beauty (or words to that affect). Interestingly, not far from Blaenau is the extrodinary “village” of Portmeirion which Williams-Ellis designed and built over a 50 year period. If you are not familiar with Portmeirion click the link and judge for yourself if “attains sufficient beauty”

The work is a “new two channel video installation contains new film footage of Blaenau Ffestiniog, with a Welsh-language script sourced from texts written or edited by Williams Ellis.”

Really looking forward to the show and would just like to congratulate Stuart on a long difficult process finally coming to a conclusion. Well done.