Represented by MTArt Agency, Robert Montgomery is an internationally known artist and poet. His work is hugely popular on the internet, the piece “The People You Love Become Ghosts Inside of You” has been shared online more than 20 million times.
He makes billboard poems, light works, fire poems, woodcuts, paintings and watercolours. He was the British artist selected for the 2012 Kochi Biennale and the 2016 Yinchuan Biennale. Along with the architects, Allied Works was a shortlisted finalist for the UK National Holocaust Memorial in 2017 with the project exhibited at the V&A Museum in London. His work is in museum collections across the world and he has had solo museum shows at the Aspen Art Museum in Colorado and the Cer Modern Museum in Ankara.
Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine says about Montgomery,
“The poems he composes suggest a steady faith that humanity can heal the ecological and emotional trauma of our times, with a lyricism that recalls poets like Philip Larkin and Sylvia Plath. Montgomery’s focus lies in broadcasting his message to a wider audience. His preferred installation format is co-opted billboards: his own text, replacing the billboards’, subverts their intended purpose of disseminating ads. Montgomery’s art has graced the cityscapes of Paris, Berlin, and London, where he is based. His first solo exhibition in New York opened last week at C24 Gallery, comprising the largest collection of his works gathered together to date. We visited Montgomery at C24 gallery while he was installing, starting the interview with a tour. Walking in the entrance with blaring words of lights ahead and on either side felt like entering a cathedral…”
(Rachel Small, Interview Magazine.)
The installation piece is made from recycled sunlight – the sculpture recycles sunlight to illuminate itself, as a metaphor for what we do when we remember someone we love. The artist wrote these words after the death of his best friend, artist Sean Flynn, and they have become a short poem with universal resonance.
Commissioned for the Bombay Beach Biennale in the California desert in 2018, The Sea Has No Name For America was a fire poem/ceremony on the site of the Salton Sea, a “dead lake” in Southern California where the fish and birdlife were killed off due to industrial farming in the 1990s.
Commissioned by B Arts and the Esme Fairbairn Charitable Trust STOKE WORKS was a series of wall poems by Robert Montgomery written in collaboration with community groups in Stoke on Trent and painted in ecological paint which washes off over time. Designed to bring corners of the city to life over the autumn of 2019.
A permanent light work on the beach front at Anglet in the Sud Ouest of France commissioned for the “Biennale d’Art Contemporain d’Anglet” in 2016. It was curated by Paul Ardenne and Barbara Polla.
This poignant, both personal and universal light work has been installed in Herleen in the Netherlands, in Bogota Columbia and in the version shown here in Fort Smith, Arkansas, curated by Just Kids. Montgomery’s Scottish grandfathers were coal miners, he describes Mine Love Distribute Hope as a “memorial to my grandfathers and to the other manual labourers who we tend to undervalue in our societies”.
On the site of a downtown Seattle electrical sub-station Montgomery’s 2015 installation, part of All Rise Seattle! was a poignant plea for sustainable energy and better energy plans for our cities. The main piece from this installation The Stars Pulled Down for Real is currently on show at The Oklahoma Contemporary in Oklahoma City en route to it’s permanent home in the collection of the Albright Knox Museum in Buffalo New York.
Curated by Istanbul 74, and commissioned to coincide with Montgomery’s solo exhibition at Turkey’s National Contemporary Art Museum the “Cer Modern in Ankara” in 2015, this is a major architectural light work that sits on top of the landmark Bornova building and celebrates the city of Izmir’s close relationship with the sea.
With the curators at Neue Berliner Raume Robert Montgomery’s work took over the site of the abandoned US Army air base at Tempelhof in Berlin in 2012. He created two large light works about peace and healing at the former military air base, and 23 billboard poems across Berlin that summer as well as further installations at Staadbad in Wedding.
This project gathered huge critical acclaim,
“Montgomery speaks about cities as being like living museums, alive with memory. Inspired by a speech by Victor Hugo, Montgomery’s poems form the voice of an unspoken figure – the voice of the city as a living museum. Whilst the voice is knowing, it is not powerful, repeatedly using the word “please”, pleading for a peaceful future.”
— Maude Magazin, Catherine Ailsa Jones
“Montgomery’s works serve as a microcosm of larger social phenomena, as he traces personal memories and sentiments through his writing in an effort to speak to the deep melancholia of our modern age. He has chosen the billboard as his canvas in order to create a potential dialogue with the viewer in a setting that is conventionally imposing and monological.”
— Berlin Art Link, Alison Hugill
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