Hawkwind and Barney Bubbles Influence Le Gun’s Space Is Deep

Le Gun’s Planet Frottage, one of the group works featured in Space Is Deep

Le Gun’s Planet Frottage, one of the group works featured in Space Is Deep

 

Space Is Deep, was a 2013 exhibition from art collective Le Gun.

The show, at London’s Daniel Blau gallery, featured contributions from fellow travellers such as Wildcat Will Blanchard, Andrzej Klimowski and Will Sweeney, marking a departure for the group; for the first time work in colour was included alongside Le Gun’s trademark monochrome representations.

“We felt the time was right to introduce some colour and started off by making two technicolour free-form ‘nightmare paintings’, said Robert Rubbish, who founded Le Gun in 2004 with fellow artist/illustrators Bill Bragg, Chris Bianchi, Neal Fox and Stephanie von Reiswitz and designers Alex Wright and Matt Appleton.

 

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“Then we reassessed our approach, fine-tuned our colour pallet and made three space-inspired paintings, taking references from the likes of (horror/scifi comic artist) LB Cole and  Tintin’s adventure Explorers On The Moon.”

 


Ceremony, Will Sweeney, Space Is Deep

Ceremony, Will Sweeney, Space Is Deep

 

Leper Messiah, Neal Fox, Space Is Deep/

Leper Messiah, Neal Fox, Space Is Deep/

 

Party, Andrzej Klimowski, Space Is Deep

Party, Andrzej Klimowski, Space Is Deep

 

Tableland, Bill Bragg

Tableland, Bill Bragg

 

Space is Deep - Glory, Emma Rendel

Space is Deep – Glory, Emma Rendel

 

Three Travellers, Stephanie von Reiswit, Space Is Deep

Three Travellers, Stephanie von Reiswit, Space Is Deep

 

Dollar, Wildcat Will Blanchard, Space Is Deep

Dollar, Wildcat Will Blanchard, Space Is Deep

 

Robert Rubbish with one of his works at this week’s installation of Space Is Deep at Daniel Blau London

Robert Rubbish with one of his works at this week’s installation of Space Is Deep at Daniel Blau London

 

The exhibition title paid homage to the Dave Brock track which appeared first on his band Hawkwind’s 1972 LP Doremi Fasol Latido and then in expanded form on the epic 1973 release of their live extravaganza The Space Ritual.

 

Outer trifold sleeve, The Space Ritual: Alive In London & Liverpool, Hawkwind, UA, 1973. Design: © Barney Bubbles Estate

Outer trifold sleeve, The Space Ritual: Alive In London & Liverpool, Hawkwind, UA, 1973. Design: © Barney Bubbles Estate

 

Inner sleeve, The Space Ritual. Design: © Barney Bubbles Estate

Inner sleeve, The Space Ritual. Design: © Barney Bubbles Estate

 

“The song found its way onto the Le Gun playlist over the years, and the slogan/statement has appeared in our group drawings as a recurring motif,” said Rubbish. “The more I think about it, the more mind-blowing and profound it is. I am sure it must have caused a lot of explosions of minds while tripping.”

The tri-fold Space Ritual album sleeve was one of the series of releases by the band designed and packaged by Barney Bubbles.

“We all like the ideas Hawkwind played with – drugged-out freaks creating cosmic space rock from the hub of London’s counterculture,” said Rubbish. “Since Barney Bubbles shaped the visual identity of the ‘Wind for sure I was influenced by the strong look he created. When researching reference material we looked at his Hawkwind covers. In particular, the use of black as a background with bright colours on the cover of In Search Of Space has filtered into Le Gun’s group drawing consciousness.

 

Die-cut front of sleeve for “X In Search Of Space”, Hawkwind, UA, 1971. Design: © Barney Bubbles Estate

Die-cut front of sleeve for “X In Search Of Space”, Hawkwind, UA, 1971. Design: © Barney Bubbles Estate

 

Open inner with back fold of “X In Search Of Space” sleeve. Design: © Barney Bubbles Estate

Open inner with back fold of “X In Search Of Space” sleeve. Design: © Barney Bubbles Estate

 

“BB’s work represents a very powerful canon of visual ideas which still look fresh today; he’ll continue to influence me, Le Gun and many artists, designers and image-makers because he was a one-off whose thought processes were constantly evolving.”

Rubbish’s contribution to Space Is Deep includes new work. “I’ve collected together a mix of my styles and interests from a painting of a lady with a pink squid hairdo to a nude study of an oversize-appendaged German sailor which was inspired by a trip to Tate Britain’s watercolour show in 2011. I like to think my work and myself always sail close to the absurd.”

Find Out more about Space Is Deep here.

Keep in touch with Le Gun here.

Visit Robert Rubbish’s site here.

Read about LB Cole here.

Read an obituary of Josette Baujot, the colourist of Herge’s Tintin books, among them Explorers On The Moon.