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Harland Miller and TYPE | British Humour
Editorial / Exhibitions

Harland Miller and TYPE | British Humour

18 Feb 2018


Hang-Up Gallery's upcoming exhibition TYPE is to feature a range of Harland Miller's highly sought after, comical artwork alongside three other renowned, contemporary artists... David Shrigley, The Connor Brothers and Banksy. Be sure to RSVP for the private view, HERE. It is not an event to be missed.

Harland Miller

Harland Miller's love for text is blatant when looking at his artwork. As both a writer and an artist, he cleverly combines sarcastic language with image to highlight the frequent disconnect between reality and representation.

Above: Harland Miller, Happiness: The Case Against

Harland Miller looking epic on display at Hang-Up!

Above: Harland Miller, Killing Bondage

Above: Harland Miller, Love A Decisive Blow Against If

Harland Miller as a Writer

Miller was a writer before he was an artist. He wrote a series of successful books, including 'Slow Down Arthur, Stick to Thirty', which received a lot of praise after its publication in 2000. Following this, in 2002 The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston named Miller Writer in Residence.

Despite his success as a writer, Harland Miller described himself in an interview with Jessica Draper for Studio International as "an artist who has written a book and some journalism and short stories along the way, rather than a writer who paints."

"I think I can say with confidence that I am a frustrated writer and maybe I am holding on to that frustration because that is what is coming out in the paintings here."

He continues... "I think I can say with confidence that I am a frustrated writer and maybe I am holding on to that frustration because that is what is coming out in the paintings here. Most of the text in my work presents as a reference to literature and these are all potential titles for stories. I really like the short story genre, and I think of each one of these as a potential story, the title for a story that I could one day write, though I probably never will, which is a story in itself."

Above: Harland Miller, The Me I Never Knew (you can view our available work by Harland Miller HERE)

Above: Harland Miller, High on Hope on display at Hang-Up Gallery. Click HERE to browse our website

Miller's Penguin Book Series

This series stems from when Harland Miller found a box of Penguin Books outside a book shop in Notre Dame when he lived in Paris. He discusses this in an interview for Studio International (read by clicking here), saying "the design of those classics would throw all focus on to the title of the book - which is exactly what I wanted to do."

Miller prefers not to explain the reasoning behind his Penguin Book titles. He believes people bring out their own individual meaning from a text, which results in forming a personal relationship with the artwork, which he does not wish to dispute.

Above: Harland Miller, International Lonely Guy

Above: Harland Miller, Too Cool To Lose

Dark, British Humour

There is an interesting video where Miller talks about his Penguin Book Series and his use of dark, British humour that you can view by clicking HERE.

Miller began to create artwork which was a humorous amalgamation of text and image. Take for instance his piece 'This is Where it's Fuckin At', which was displayed at Soho House in LA.

Above: Harland Miller, This Is Where It's Fuckin At, on display at Soho House, LA.

Much of the humour in Miller's artwork arises from the sharp, blunt tone of the text. Surprisingly, Miller describes achieving this brevity to be "a real challenge" as a writer, which causes much of his work to be "qualified with a subtext", which he describes as "a writer's thing. It's a theatrical quality. There is a subtext, which is Brechtian. That is what is so good about the titles with a secondary title."

Considering the context of Soho House as a membership club full of insiders, this is a particularly humorous artwork. The small text 'at least it used to be', which sits underneath the larger type, makes the viewer feel very much like an outsider.

"Text that hits you with itself - like wham!"

In his interview for Studio International, Miller says "there is a lot of text that hits you with itself - like wham! Something you would see in passing but with no secondary or context." This is true of the above piece, however some onlookers may not read the smaller print and therefore miss out on his satyrical message.

Soho House in London also displays some of Harland Miller's awesome work...

Above: Harland Miller, There's No Business Like No Business

Above: Harland Miller, Wherever You are Whatever You're doing This one's for you

Harland Miller at Auction

This combination of trite everyday experiences with a twist of dark British humour has been a tremendous hit. Auction results demonstrate the power of image and text as people from across the globe lap up his witty artwork. In the past year we have seen Miller's work go for impressive sums. We can see why!

Above: Harland Miller, A Fist To Cry On alongside Tell Me Beautiful Untrue Things by the Connor Brothers...Browse work we have available by The Connor Brothers by clicking HERE.

Above: Harland Miller, You Can Rely On Me I'll Always Let You Down.

So there we have it... Thanks for reading this weeks blog on Harland Miller in relation to TYPE. If you have any questions don't hesitate to email or phone in on 02036674550.

Over 'n out!

Hang-Up Team

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