mtart agency walter and zoniel edited mtart agency claire luxton the crown estate

Robert Montgomery

TEXT ART | PAINTING | LIGHT ART | PUBLIC ART

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.)

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Selected
artworks Oeuvres
d’art sélectionnées

New Countries original painting , 2019

ARA acrylic and glaze on canvas 156 x 90 cm
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The People You Love , 2010

Unframed Print archival inkjet on Hahnemühle etching paper (signed) 100 x 70 cm Edition of 10
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The People You Love , 2010

Oak, recycled polymer and 12volt LED lights 232 x 378 cm Edition of 5 of 5
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MODERNISM IS A PSYCHIC LOVE WAVE , 2017

ARA acrylic and glaze on canvas 100 x 100cm
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Oscar Night Poem (The Flood) , 2013

Oak, recycled polymer, 12 Volt LED Lights 180 x 184 cm Edition 3 of 3
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Woodcut Panel (One Day) , 2019

Pure gold leaf and gold paint on carved wood 97 x 97 cm Edition 5 of 5
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THE BEGINNING OF HOPE , 2019

ARA acrylic and glaze on canvas 150cm x 150cm
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MONEY IS A SUPERSTITION , 2019

ARA acrylic and glaze on canvas 135cm x 135cm
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A Hundred Years , 2014

Low consumption 12 volt LED light, recycled PVC and valchromat letters on painted oak and black valchromat frame. 190 x 137cm Edition 3 of 5
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Projects

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 major solar-powered light installation for the Kochi Biennale, India’s first contemporary art biennale in 2012 where Montgomery represented the United Kingdom. Titled “Fado Music in Reverse” Montgomery’s work was conceived as an “exile’s song” and celebrated centuries of migration and multi-culturalism in Kerala.

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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