Mike Badger – Collage and Tin Sculpture (2019)
Galleri Eklund proudly presents its very first exhibition with the British artist, sculptor and musician Mike Badger. Badger was born in Liverpool, England in 1962 and currently resides and works in Snowdonia National Park, North Wales. He studied Art and Design at St. Helen’s College of Art near Liverpool (1979-81), however he essentially considers himself to be a self-taught artist. His work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout England. The exhibition Mike Badger – Collage and Tin Sculpture at Galleri Eklund will showcase a wide array of his sculptures, collages and prints made over the past 25 years.
Whichever medium he utilizes, Badger’s creative process largely lies in the selection of raw material. Although this can be anything that the artist can get his hands on and manipulate, the material is selected on the basis of whether or not Badger considers it to have a powerful signal that speaks to him. He intuitively assembles different recycled materials such as images from newspapers, magazines and old wall paper. His sculptures mostly consist of cut open tin cans, as the artist finds the corrugated lines under the label of a tin can particularly appealing with a certain kind of overlooked shining beauty.
Badger has a distinctive punkrock attitude towards his art making, where the appeal of his sculpture and photomontage is the cheeky, rough and ready appearance. The collages, robots, boats, trucks and buses have seemingly sprung from the artist’s hands and are not meant to be too crafted, polished or artificial. Inspired by the directness of folk art and the likes of Marcel Duchamp and his readymades or the simple juxtaposition of images in John Heartfield’s collages, Badger says:
“The less I have do with the raw material, the better”.
Badger’s artworks are self-evident, in the best sense of the word, consisting of humble, recognizable objects or fragments of objects; where nothing is added unless need be. The artist’s elementary and playful aesthetics is inherently imbued with a certain totemic energy, rendering his work instantly accessible and understandable for a wide audience.
Despite the fact that Badger’s photomontage often feature political aspects – such as Lenin, Native Americans, working women during the Second World War as well as various images of modern architecture clashing with serene landscapes – the artist maintains that his work is not wholly political, at least not intentionally. His works are not specifically intended as an intellectual manifestation of his views on for instance the environment, industrialism or colonialism, nor are they preachy. Rather Badger’s art is the heartfelt result of an instinctive and organic creative process where the world that the artist adhers to comes true in his artworks.
Since the mid 1980’s, Badger has found diverse outlets for his immense creativity. Badger is also a singer-songwriter, vocalist and guitarist active within the genres of alternative rock, country and rockabilly. Badger formed the Liverpool band The La’s (1984-86) as well as independent record label The Viper Label (1999), and regularly performs live across the UK and America. Badger also co-authored his autobiography The Rhythm and the Tide (Liverpool, The La’s and Ever After) which was published by Liverpool University Press in 2016.
– In 1997-98, Badger created several tin sculptures for Liverpool band Space’s album Tin Planet, which are featured on the record sleeve cover of the album.
– In 2006, Badger’s sculpture was selected by The Prince of Wales Foundation for Children and The Arts to be part of an education package sent to primary schools throughout the UK.
– In 2010, the artist was commissioned to create a permanent suspended sculpture in Liverpool titled A Musical Composition, in celebration of what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday.
– Since 2001 to present day, Badger also leads Recycled Art Workshops throughout North West England for young children.