left The Old Brighton Stargazer, E Haines
right Man, 2012, David Miles
David Miles has created new works inspired by items of local and international importance in the Prints and Drawings collection at Brighton Museum. This display shows many works that have not previously been displayed, including a print by Dürer, some Japanese woodcuts and a rarely seen drawing by Edward Burra. David Miles’s own work has been produced in response to these artworks, personally chosen for their evocation of tales of Brighton myths and mystery.
Miles has constructed his project thematically, centred around an actual hole marring the surface of the 19th-century Japanese artist Hiroshige's print Mount Hakone, held in the Fine Art collection. The hole on the damaged print appears rather fortuitously at the centre of the mountain, and Miles has used this physical ‘hole’ or ‘crater’ as a starting point for his imaginative project. From here, he leads us into an underworld of grottos, beasts and mysterious shapes. Figures shift, metamorphose and disappear, only to reappear mysteriously in a different context.
Short pieces of fiction from Brighton-based writer Mick Jackson are displayed alongside the original prints and Miles’s own work, adding another layer of connections. These writings also form part of a limited-edition artist’s book by David Miles that accompanies the exhibition and functions as a piece of work in its own right, using the museum’s prints alongside the new images.
The display demonstrates the innovative ways in which museum collections inspire and engage artists working today.