Sunday, 24 October 2010


In my experience, the Welsh are generally pretty cool. The seminal Manic Street Preachers can't be wrong (4 REAL Richey!), and renegade artist Mike Ballard is no exception. Ballard's current London show 'Whose Coat Is That Jacket You're Wearing?' is on this October in a temporary exhibition space (an old tailor's shop, aptly) in Euston.

The show comprises hundreds of coats suspended from the ceiling, stolen by Ballard over a decade from London pubs and clubs (below). Upon his arrival in London from a small village in North Wales, the artist's own precious coat was stolen. His twisted punishment for the city that broke his illusions seems to have manifested itself in a compulsion to rack other peoples' coats. The pungent stench of stale fags, spilt beer and acrid sweat engulfs the visitor on arrival, adding an air of putrid authenticity to proceedings.  Each coat is labelled with a witty anecdote about its liberation or the artist's existential opinions on London life (above). Ballard's small-town musings on the big-city experience reflect his own relocation from a North Wales village to London, a journey so common to our fair city's endless multitude of foreign inhabitants. The originality and inherent humour of Ballard's show was intriguing, as was the patently absurd, fundamental stoopidity of the project. The irony remains that he didn't actually steal any of the coats' contents, instead cataloguing and photographing the items as part of the exhibition. What a waster...  

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