Christopher Brown

Carnival, linocut, collage

Harlequins, Matelots & Others
1978 – 2023


23 November – 17 December 2023


Private views:

Thursday November 23rd  6.30 – 8.30 pm
Tuesday December 5th 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Sunday December 17th 12.00 – 3.00pm

Open Days:

Wednesday November 29th, December 6th and 13th. 12.00 – 6.00 pm

Viewing by appointment at other times
For further information contact Jonathan Ross:
Phone 07747 807576

“Harlequins Matelots & Others” is a selection of works dating back to my second year at the RCA, 1978, and continues through the 80’s and 90’s when I started to establish myself as an illustrator and printmaker.

There is also a selection of “off cut” prints, which I have been working on this year – setting myself the task of trying to cut 365 blocks.  I’ve fallen rather behind in this but there are more than enough to chose from.

In 1974 I went to see a production of Lindsay Kemp’s “Flowers” at the Bush Theatre. This was my introduction to the work of Jean Genet and about this time I first saw Carné’s classic 1945 film “Les Enfants du Paradis”, probably at the Paris Pullman Cinema.  By the time I started at the RCA in 1977, I had also started to read all I could by and on Jean Cocteau, as well as watching all his films.  These influences led me to create some of the prints in the show – the two matelots “ Où voulez vous en venir?”, with the Bleu, Blanc, Rouge of the tricoleur overprinted on them. The harlequin hands clasped with a veiled figure in the background and, the earliest work
in the show, a pen and drink drawing for an RCA Inklings publication on travel, of the two sailors illustrating YMCA’s “In the Navy”.

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In the years after leaving the RCA, I was lucky enough to be able to incorporate harlequins into my commercial work; the brightly coloured version for Wilson Harris’s “Carnival”, published by Faber, and the juggling harlequins for one of Michael Moorcock’s Jerry Cornelius novels. (I’m unsure if it was ever used – I certainly never received a proof!).

I suppose that I’m now known more for my linocuts than the coloured pencil drawings, collages or paintings, so I have included some examples of the latter in this exhibition.

Whether, making work for myself of for a client, I have to relate to or create a narrative. My work is far from realistic but, in my mind, I imagine a real world – a real situation, a real person. I would like to think this is evident in the “off cut” prints that I am currently working on.

The work I make is often not that serious, but I am serious about the work I make.

Chris Brown.  Earls Court, November 2023.