Jul 12, 2011 12:00AM

Mark Titchner's Metal Art

The British artist takes inspiration from heavy metal greats.

The fertile climes of England's West Midlands brought us the Mini, Duran Duran, and Cadbury, but in the late 1960s, there were darker forces at work. No, it hasn't always been low-cost automobiles, synthpop and chocolate - Birmingham is also the birthplace of metal. Black Sabbath and Judas Priest were both reared in the Black Country and are noted as the seminal forebears of the metal movement. Turner Prize nominee and multi-media artist Mark Titchner celebrates the rich lyrical annals and iconic imagery of classic metal in his latest exhibition Be True To Your Oblivion.

Titchner's show has launched at the New Art Gallery Walsall as part of Home of Metal, a comprehensive series of exhibitions and live performances held throughout the West Midlands to celebrate a genre that found its feet in the Black Country and established itself as one of the iconic musical movements of the twentieth century. The artist engages all senses stimulated by the metal experience, combining the text-based works he is famous for, sculpture, film and interactive installations.

The launch of the exhibition saw Nicholas Bullen, former member of Napalm Death, performing a live set to accompany Titchner's video installation featuring a projection of the musician's mouth. The artist also harnesses the majesty of metal's lyrical library, with one work featuring Judas Priest's words "I'll choose my fate" displayed in a window box, bonding the work with Walsall Leather Museum's exhibition of the band's formidable stage costumes.

Titchner also promotes the participatory side of his chosen musical genre, with works such as 'Be angry but don't stop breathing' encouraging visitors to use the sculpture as a kind of heavy metal soapbox for emotional relief. 'Ergo Ergot', inspired in part by the logo of Vertigo, who launched the career of Black Sabbath, provokes a hallucinatory experience probably not unlike that which Ozzy Osbourne was privy to throughout most of the 70s.

Words: Lillian McKnight

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