A plane E8 look at a babe’s war in the East End

A PRAM under the full-size outline of a Second World War fighter plane is the dramatic sight greeting you if you step through the Victorian arches into London’s latest pop-up gallery.

It is the visual autobiography of Vaughan Grylls, an artist whose pram narrowly escaped the rat-tat-tat fire of a Dornier 217 light bomber when his granny snatched baby and carriage away from the line of fire at their home in 1944.

Grylls says: “This work, my autobiography, starts when my grandmother rescued my pram from the Odessa steps,” a reference to the classic 1925 movie Battleship Potemkin of a pram plunging downwards during a military attack.

“When my grandmother died five years ago I inherited a large number of family photographs… one day I laid all the photographs on the floor of my studio and tiptoed over them in my socks.

“I came across a photograph of myself, aged about 18 months, with my pram in the background. It was only then that I recalled this extraordinary story.”

He assembled 1,000 or so pictures into the shape of the plane that almost killed him.

The artwork, which he named Grandmother, might never have been widely seen if Megan Piper, an artrepreneur (don’t use this in Scrabble: I made it up), had not decided to follow up an exhibition at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham on forgotten artists by creating a pop-up gallery and if Grylls had not noticed during a trip to Dalston that the church hall was for hire.

The result, the Piper Gallery in the Swiss-style church hall of St Mark’s, is possibly London’s most fashionable pop-up; David Bailey, Danny Boyle and Jay Rayner, a food writer, were among the slebs at the launch party last night.


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* Grandmother, the Piper Gallery, St Mark’s church hall, Colvestone Crescent, London E8 2NQ, Mon-Sat, noon-6pm (or by appointment), until Fri 27 May 2011. Free. Try to allow plenty of time to examine the work leisurely. If you prefer to read this article in German, see the Schwabian version at Oberschwäbische Mannigfaltigkeiten. Loving Dalston, die Europäische Webseite, oder?
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One thought on “A plane E8 look at a babe’s war in the East End

  1. The world needs more brave people like your grandmother. A remarkable woman. It is great that you remember and keep spreading the knowledge about her.

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