Art Gallery artandculture

Pigface25 Exhibit Documents History of Iconic Musical Collective

Sunday, April 10, 2016 Louis Vasseur

In 1990, drummers Martin Atkins and William Rieflin formed the industrial rock supergroup, Pigface, from the Ministry The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste tour.  The band was formed with the intention of keeping a revolving-door style collaboration with many experimentally-minded musicians.  Over the course of the band's many albums, over 300 musicians and performing artists would participate, encompassing various genres from industrial to rock to jazz and all points in between. Pigface was more than a band.  It was a collective of sort that brought people together from all over the world to create music and artwork, go on tour, make records, make merchandise, make videos, and so much more.

With Pigface's history of creative collaboration, it is only fitting that an exhibition celebrating the 25th anniversary of the band should be held in the gallery at 2112, Inc., Chicago's new creative incubator that is part of the impressive Ft. Know Studio complex.  Pigface25 features over 50 pieces representing a full retrospective of the band's handmade, custom scenery spanning 18 albums and 12 tours.  The 2112, Inc. Gallery's 20,000 square feet of space, coupled with high industrial ceilings, allow the 20 feet tall set pieces to be displayed fully for the first time.

Pigface Fans Gather to celebrate the Iconic Band's 25 Year History 

Pigface25 was conceived by Pigface leader/musician/label owner/entrepreneur Martin Atkins.  A bit of a packrat, Atkins saved many historical Pigface artifacts.  He was recently digging through his archives when he discovered all these "cool" Pigface tour backdrop artworks dating back to the beginning of the band.  Atkins teamed up with 2112, Inc., SAE Institute-Chicago, and to present Pigface25.  During the opening reception, Atkins welcomed fans, former band mates, former employees, and colleagues, with everyone sharing memories and stories about the industrial rock-based conglomerate.  As guests meandered through the exhibit, many talked about the Pigface artifacts they had saved over the past 25 years.  Later, Atkins talked about the exhibit and his memories in his own unique and humorous style.

The Fook Babies Backdrop from 1992 Has Never Before Been Displayed

The band's huge, iconic stage scenery was designed to be broken down into easy-to-carry pieces and with repurposing in mind.   The Dot Screened Madonnas from the band's Preaching to the Perverted tour (2001) perhaps illustrates this best.  These set pieces were designed to be cut up and given away or sold after the tour.  They exemplify a balance between beauty and purpose, creativity and commerce.  Not only in its music, but also in its scenery, and ultimately with its brand, the driving force throughout Pigface's 25 year history is to bring together various creative people and allowing them to work together to create something truly unique and share this with others.

Pigface Stage Scenery Backdrops From Various Band Tours

Atkins has also made it clear that Pigface25 will not be a static exhibit.   He has suggested new artifacts may be added to the exhibit at various points throughout its 5 week run.   There are also a series of mixers and discussions planned as well.  Pigface25 will reflect the band in a spirit of collaboration and creative expression. 

Pigface25 will run through May 5 at the 2112, Inc. Gallery, located at 4245 N. Knox Avenue in Chicago, IL.  Gallery hours are Thursday from 4-6 pm and Saturday from 11 am - 3 pm.  In addition, there will be a special presentation of "Under The Influence with Martin Atkins:  Scenery, Creating Momentum, Art vs. Commerce on Monday, April 25th.  You can get further information and schedule a special appointment to view the exhibit by calling (312) 300-7996.

Exhibit photos by James Currie and Fernando Martin.

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