British artist Phlegm brings his signature characters to life in an epic solo show staged in his adopted hometown of Sheffield. Known for his elongated, fantastical figures that look like a modern bestiary drawn in black and white, Phlegm has easily translated his painted murals into three-dimensional sculptures with Mausoleum of Giants.
As the street artist turns more and more to installation art, the show is an incredible look at his artistic growth. The local industrial complex that houses the monumental installations is the perfect setting for Phlegm’s work, as his eerily painted murals most often creep across the architecture, filling the equally unsettling abandoned spaces. In this case, he works within the negative space of the grand setting, placing enormous creatures throughout the complex.
“Imagined as beings whose life spans over thousands of years, these peaceful beasts have seen rivers erode and mountains change,” a statement for the installation (written by Sasha Bogojev) explains. “With their final days coming slowly but surely, the giants are ready for their eternal rest, giving everyone enough time to meet them, mourn them and make peace with their ending.”
These fantastical giants appear as blown up versions of Phlegm’s painted work. Their monochrome skin make them look all the more like pen ink drawings that have inched off the page and transformed into 3D sculptures. Showing close attention to detail, the artist makes great use of the space by allowing the anatomy of his sculptures to break through the architecture. For instance, a horned creature holds a skull, while its overly elongated arms stretch forth, so long that its elbows sink into the ground. By playing with the exaggerated anatomy of his figures, Phlegm creates a surreal fantasy world where the visiting humans are dwarfed by their sheer enormity.
Mausoleum of Giants is on view until April 6, 2019 at Eye Witness Work on Milton Street in Sheffield, England. Check the website for opening times and advice on how to plan your visit.