Just come back from the Frankophila! exhibition opener, and it was one of the oddest rooms I have ever been in. The walls covered in the same big-eyed round face rendered variously on t-shirts and digital prints, pencilled on scraps of paper, and painted on canvas. TV screens showed the same face cavorting on stage with a microphone, or walking down Timperley streets with a megaphone. The floor was littered with big round-headed scarecrows and Guys, and a pumpkin cut into the same odd face quickly rotted on a plinth, oozing juice through the cling film and across the surface.
A big fat Frank in customary red and black gave all the big thumbs up and posed for photos. The guest book filled up with positive comments this is great, you know it is, it really is. A Santa hat had been cunningly converted into a Frank fairy which sat atop a Christmas tree sparsely decorated with Oxo cubes. There were clay, bronze and papier mache sculptures of the amusing head, and a set of Russian dolls decorated with that same face.
In every direction the eyes could not avoid falling on the bizarre face of Frank Sidebottom; a very confusing effect. It seemed to bring about the gradual onset of absurd giggles, and caused middle-aged men to get excited and young children to be unsettled. Photographers prowled around like hunters unintimidated by their prey; circling around and around, making repeated visits to the same spot. And I kept a sly eye out for people looking at my painting and two drawings.
Everyone was there to pay tribute to Chris Sievey (25/8/55-21/7/10), the eponymous hero Frank Sidebottom, and to enjoy a bit of art firmly in Sidie’s tradition: very close to being ‘proper Art’, but primarily concerned with making people laugh.
I took some pictures on what I thought was my only functioning camera, a lightweight Tesco own-brand. I could see the quality of the snaps was going to be seriously low but even worse, I’ve just tried to upload them and keep getting a bloody error message from it. I’ve tried USB and putting the card in the reader but no dice. Drat. As far as art exhibition openers go it was a bloody good turnout; a gallery full of oddballs and chatting and joking. It clearly wasn’t just the free booze that had drawn this crowd.
One of the main benefits of this event is hopefully to raise some money for the Frank Sidebottom statue fund: Timperley needs a Sidie statue. So join the campaign: here for the facebook group, here for the website, and here to download Gemma Woods' brilliant poster in pdf.
I'll try and get my photos out of that accursed cheapo camera somehow, and as soon as I do they'll be up here for all and sundry to stare at in all their fuzzy, under-lit wonder.
Anyway, in summation: totally brilliant exhibition. Partly because it's Frank-themed and partly because it's a room full of weird objects you wouldn't normally encounter. Go see it; I command you... And if you saw it tonight; I commend you.