"Begins to Collapse"
Text by Maria Zagala
Even if you don’t go to live gigs, chances are you have passed rows of posters advertising them on the street or wondered what the bold signage “POST NO BILLS” means.
The posters define certain stretches of the urban landscape usually within earshot of
a pub or live music venue. Layered on top of each other, they appear and disappear at night, plastered onto walls and stobie poles according to touring schedules. Perfunctory or sophisticated, employing text and image, the posters are rooted in their own design genealogies, as diverse as the music they advertise. That this ephemeral form of advertising has made it through the upheaval of late 20th century technology revolution is something. Printed in commercial quantities at photography off set lithography presses, these posters continue to be made in the same way as rock posters of the 60s and 70s.
Andrew Browne’s recent series ‘Begins to Collapse’ riffs on this ephemeral form, taking the particular material qualities of the off-set lithographic poster – its scale, matt finish and the thin lightness of bond paper– to create works that sit ambiguously between photograph, print and poster. Working in black and white, Browne
subtly manipulates photographs of his encounter with streetscape on his inner city wanderings. The textured surfaces of fences, walls and building exteriors suggest comical face or evoke associations disconnected from their prosaic source. Installed as an immersive constellation – not unlike a wall of rock posters on the street – the meaning of the objects represented ‘begins to collapse’ through Browne’s manipulation of scale and the disjunctive sequence of their installation. For a moment, these mundane and neglected corners of the street are elevated, to star billing.