Bracey’s father was a neon sign-maker, predominantly for fairgrounds and amusement arcades, and Chris learnt how to manufacture and design the neon signs at an early age. Inspired by the kitsch character of London’s Soho during the 1970s, Bracey crafted lights for clubs, bars and restaurants before creating his own artworks. His work has featured in films and he has constructed specially commissioned artworks.
It was art director Chris Townsend who introduced him to the world of film and this gave Bracey the autonomy to expand the possibilities of what could be done with neon. Bracey comments, “Like any work of art, it’s got spirit. Neon is only happy when it’s on, when it’s alive”.
Having shown extensively in the US and with a focus on commercial projects for the last few years, this exhibition brings together a selection of new works specifically dealing with themes of heaven and hell – a metaphor for Bracey’s diverse biographical journey. These themes bring together the highlights of Bracey’s practice and transform the gallery into the realms of heaven, with free-standing Angel and Jesus sculptures, suspended wings and star constellations; and hell with his trademark Soho sex, tattoo and rock ‘n’ roll iconography such as “Hot Burning Love”.
Chris Bracey — I’ve looked up to heaven and been down to hell, is showing until 1 June 2013 at Scream 27 – 28 Eastcastle Street London W1W 8DH.