Richie Culver rose to fame in 2010, when he took a magazine cut out of a Jesse Owens photograph and stuck the words ‘Have you ever really loved anyone?’ onto it. Although he had never had any formal training, this first artwork was featured in a group exhibition at the Tate Modern. Richie has since experimented with photography, mixed-media installations and painting, and he has become synonymous with his use of text to accompany his artwork.
This July, a show entitled ‘Things that didn’t really work out – most things’ will combine Jesse’s autobiographical inclination with his text-based medium, providing a dark and humorous look into his life. In Culver’s own words, the exhibition “looks into the realms of sanity, humanity and depravity”. The work began as a book project following a particularly challenging period in Culver’s life and has been developed into a series of wall based works and prints.
The exhibition, which will run from the 28th July until the 2nd of August, will be on display at Protein Studios in Shoreditch. It is Culver’s first London show in three years, and is being exhibited as one of four events put on by Shelter, as part of their Gimme Shelter series. The events are focused around literature, art, music and film and will support Shelter’s work to help people facing homelessness and poor housing. Tickets for each event are allocated via a ballot.
To enter the ballot visit: www.shelter.org.uk/gimmeshelter. Successful entrants will be asked to purchase tickets for their chosen event for £10, with all proceeds going directly to support Shelter’s crucial work.
Artist Richie Culver uses words to grab his audience”s attention and bring old images to life. Last year his collage featuring Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics bursting out of the starting blocks, along with the line – “Have you ever really loved anyone?” – stormed the Tate Modern, and since then he”s been busily building an oeuvre of black and white photos reinvigorated with his sharp slogans.
Now in his debut solo show at W11 Gallery, Culver has seized the chance to exhibit his statement canvases alongside personal photography.
“I”ve documented my life over the past 10 years with no intention of anyone ever seeing the photographs,” says Culver.” But after my art started getting attention with the Jesse Owens piece, I thought: “Why not show this other side of me too?”. They touch people in different ways which is something I never expected.”
The photos in question are dark images of love, loss and heartbreak. A naked lover curled up on a bed, remnants of last nights parties and portraits of local characters reminiscent of Diane Arbus – all are shot in his black and white stamp. Culver, who recently shot the cover art work for Twin girl-crush Coco Sumner”s debut album, says it was his own realisation at a young age that he wasn”t going to make it as a rockstar that helped him to discover his own voice.
“It started with my playing around with words.. coming up with song titles and lyrics.. and when you don”t play the guitar too well, you”re basically just left with all of these words. For me they then turned into images.” He doesn”t disappoint.
“Borstal Spots and Polka Dots” is at the West 11 Gallery until Sunday 26th September.