Eye of Newt 2.0 at QUAD Gallery, Derby. Exhibition by Bruce Asbestos

EYE OF NEWT 2.0

Saturday 23rd July to Sunday 30th October 2022

Eye of Newt 2.0 by Bruce Asbestos features a new video game, giant inflatables, new sculptures, a large painting, and a special commissioned seating that doubles up as an artwork. The exhibition will also be the backdrop to a catwalk that reinterprets Bruce’s A/W 2022 Collection for QUAD.  

The exhibition title - comes from the video game that features in the exhibition. This work is co-commissioned by QUAD in partnership with the Bluecoat, Liverpool.

These artworks represent a variety of repeating visual themes: a giant yellow worm represents Rest; a group of green frogspawn represents Community, and a giant cartoon arm represents Connection: all aspects of good mental health. The exhibition will also feature other characters, animals from Bruce’s work.

“I’m interested in how characters become icons, and how repetition is key to a character's development, I wanted to see how we could develop these fledgling characters in an exhibition that’s about making space for creativity, fun and play, whether that’s making a soundscape in a videogame or tickling the belly of a very large worm.”

Inspiration for some of the inflatable works came from the artist’s lockdown walks to the local park where he found frogspawn in a pond – finding it symbolic of togetherness. Rest, a worm sculpture, is inspired by Japanese Kokeshi Dolls – stylised wooden dolls with no arms or legs used as children’s toys and sold to tourists. Connection, the giant arm, is a cartoon character who symbolises reaching out to connect.

Bruce Asbestos’s work draws from a rich history of painting, sculpture, popular culture, folklore and fairy tales. His work frequently mixes everyday objects with high art, fashion, and responds to global pop culture. His interdisciplinary practice combines performance, painting, clothing, social media, video games, curating and many collaborations.

The artist comments: “The work here is a cross pollination of digital characters and giant inflatables; I’m trying to create more and more fun with each exhibition I make; I’m pushing to make this the most vivid show to date; the characters feature both in the playable game in the space, and in the inflatable works. I’m always trying to make my work more Pop; I love this collision of inflatable artworks and video games; this exhibition is the next step in achieving that dream.”

“Through his shrewd use of social media, personal re-hashing of global pop culture and use of new digital technologies, he (Asbestos) has established an unmistakable visual identity and unique brand (complete with logos) to almost become a living artwork."

- Art Review

Bruce Asbestos is a QUAD International Digital Fellow 2021-22. Eye of Newt 2.0 is produced in collaboration with the Bluecoat, Liverpool. Funded with generous support from Arts Council England.

Eye of Newt 2.0 at QUAD is co-curated by Niamh Treacy, FORMAT Coordinator, and Jodi Kwok, QUAD Assistant Curator.

Gallery Website