23 May – 28 June 2015
Private View Friday 22 May 2015 6-9pm
Razzle-dazzle B.I.N.G.O night! Saturday 6 June 2015 7.30pm
Artists in conversation with Ida Barr Saturday 27 June 2015 7.30pm
Henry/Bragg’s debut solo show at C&C Gallery is a nostalgic look at the bingo hall, examining the faded grandeur and ongoing decay of the old cinemas and theatres that house the game and its loyal players. Through a series of photographs, a film and an installation piece, as well as the live bingo event to be held in the adjoining restaurant Canvas & Cream, B.I.N.G.O surveys and scrutinises the pervading melancholy of these once bustling spaces and the communities which once centred around them.
The traditional bingo game has been in decline for some time and these large venues have proved difficult to fill, fuelled by the smoking ban and the emergence of online bingo. The increasing demand for profitable business has forced the industry to squeeze more money from fewer punters. Hand-held tablets are encouraged to enable the playing of multiple games, thereby stacking the odds against those still playing paper tickets. The numbers are picked by computer rather than using bingo balls, to keep up the rapid fire of calls and allow for link-up games around the country. And the final nail in the coffin, the bingo callers’ traditional banter and bingo lingo has been lost in favour of cramming in more games. There is a phantom of progress, but the introduction of technology and big business have decimated the fun, social and positive aspects of the game. ‘“It’s progress that’s the real delusion.” Dr Marcus.’ Will Self, Umbrella, 2012.
On their journey Henry/Bragg discovered remnants of the original game and found valued social havens for some members of the community, often women, making friends, maintaining their mental agility and hopefully winning a bob or two. But for how long? These buildings, formerly places of entertainment serving the populace for so long, often prominently placed on high streets up and down the country, are facing closure. The high street, the heartbeat of the community, is now at a critical point as its role and function are redefined as part of economic and cultural shifts. Henry/Bragg pay homage to these iconic spaces before they go through a second process of change and in doing so their work captures and preserves this process and the fragility of the communities they support.
RAZZLE-DAZZLE BINGO NIGHT!
For one night only, on Saturday 6 June, Henry/Bragg turn the gallery into a glittering bingo hall. Dabbers at the ready for a glitzy evening of spectacle (and numbers!) presided over by a charismatic gold-clad host. Expect razzamataz, bespoke bingo cards and ‘bingo lingo’ a-plenty, with traditional prizes including bingo bears and meat alongside fizz, Canvas & Cream vouchers, framed prints from the B.I.N.G.O series and memorabilia from the recently closed Gala Bingo in East Ham. Win and capture that unique bingo hall spirit in your own home with reclaimed carpet tiles, bingo paraphernalia and other specially customised unique artworks from artists Henry/Bragg.
So buckle your shoe and knock at the door, jump and jive with dirty gertie and give droopy drawers a bang on the drum, it’s doctor’s orders after all.
Prizes sponsored by www.playingbingo.co.uk
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
‘From amateur talent shows at working men’s clubs to mod reunions in provincial dancehalls, sharply focused and unsentimental, the work nonetheless possesses an almost nostalgic bittersweet quality, as if aware of both the transience of these moments, and the increasing fragility of many of the working-class subcultures that sustain them.’ Steven Bode, Film and Video Umbrella
Henry/Bragg are artists Julie Henry and Debbie Bragg. They highlight subject matters that mean a great deal to them, such as the erosion of working class culture in the age of neoliberalism and global consumerism. They capture parts of this culture before it completely passes or borrow liberally from it’s signifiers in their representations of it, using a mix of documentary photography, film and social engagement. They take the familiar and displace it in order to present it back to the viewer as a mirror to themselves.
Henry/Bragg’s first collaboration Going Down 1998, a film installation about football fandom, was shown at International Centre of Photography, New York and has recently been acquired by The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago for their permanent collection. Their first solo exhibition was Talent Show at the Anthony Wilkinson Gallery in 2000. Dyed in the Wool was a solo show at the Millais Gallery 2005, and in a group show Rundlederwelten as part of the cultural festival for the World Cup 2006 at the Martin Gropius Bau museum Berlin. In 2011, their Blooming Britain project, a study of people who enter gardening competitions, toured as a large scale outdoor exhibition at gardens around the UK, and was shown in 2014 at the Chelsea Flower Show. The Surrey Hills, an audio-visual piece about a landfill site, toured worldwide in 2012/3 as part of the exhibition Wild New Territories; from London to the Teck Gallery Vancouver and then onto Berlin. In March 2014, they were invited by Film and Video Umbrella to show and talk about their work at the Media Space in the Science Museum London, in conjunction with the exhibition ‘Only in England.’
With thanks to Arts Council England, Genesis Imaging, John Hawkins Picture Framing, Ben Hewson, Simon Payne, Scott Walker, Playing Bingo, Paul Rushworth, The Butchery, Cameron Macphail, Jim Chynoweth, Sam Booth, Amanda Burton, Gala, Mecca, Winners, Beacon, Flutters and all the loyal bingo players up and down the country.
Razzle-dazzle B.I.N.G.O night!