The Underground Soul
David Blandy

Exhibition: 9th - 31st May
PV: Friday 8th May, 7-9pm
Artist Talk: Saturday 23rd May, 7.30pm

For The Underground Soul, David Blandy transforms the Grey Area’s subterranean exhibition space into a basement den of martial arts, arcade machines, and an artist’s library of comicbooks and vinyl Soul. Blandy’s work explores the extent to which the Self is formed through the pervasiveness of mass media and the borrowed states of identity that it promises and proliferates. Blandy lays bare his appropriations, samples, and referencing of Hip-hop, Soul, Kung-fu, and manga, to reveal a cultural confusion that is also charged with a romance of hero-embodiment and the prospect of enlightenment through interactivity.

The Underground Soul has been developed in association with HOUSE, a newly founded Visual Arts Festival that runs alongside Brighton and Hove’s well established Open House Festival. The Underground Soul responds to the Festival’s curatorial banner of ‘Art and Domestic Space’ by transforming the Grey Area, a cellar below a dual commercial/residential building, into a hideout of aspiration that simultaneously echoes the feel of a teenage bedroom, amusement arcade, and underground club.

Blandy has traveled the world, like Ryu from Streetfighter, on his quest for soul. Documented in film, his performances take him to the sites of soul music where, dressed as The Barefoot Lone Pilgrim and carrying a portable record player, Blandy blasts out the tunes that made the area famous. Blandy studied at Chelsea College of Art and the Slade and has since exhibited widely both in the UK and abroad at venues such as at Gasworks, London; FACT, Liverpool; Cornerhouse, Manchester; PS1 Gallery, New York; and the Centre d'art Contemporain, Geneva. Blandy has had solo shows in London, Beijing, and this year at Spike Island, Bristol, and his work featured in last year's Liverpool Biennial at the Bluecoat.

A special Artprojx matinee screening of Blandy's work will take place at the Prince Charles Cinema in London on May 18th at 1pm.

Grey Area is an independent artist-run gallery in the centre of Brighton. Established in a dilapidated basement in March 2006, Grey Area has become a platform for experimental contemporary art in an idiosyncratic non-sterile project space.