Magicians, comedians, people who disturb our comfortable interpretation of the world…” These are among the influences Briggs cites and they seem apt indeed: you have to pay close attention to the artist’s tricks to figure out what’s happening: did you miss his mother’s well-hidden body in Portal? Or his father’s ever so discrete presence in Into the Black?
Each of Briggs’ photographs is set up as a stage, with the players (most often his mother and his father) miming unsettling thoughts and hinting at unresolved domestic tensions.
Briggs prefers flirtation with the unsaid rather than confrontation, but the one-act plays do contain an element of revenge, or at least the suggestion that there are old scores to settle.
The Briggs family album, to which the artist often has recourse, is both a curse and a blessing: it certainly recalls momentary joys of childhood, but it also reminds Briggs of the role he was obliged to play in the ‘performances’ directed by his father. Now Briggs-the-artist has the upper hand, proving Wordsworth’s famous observation, “the child is the father of the man.”
Text by William A Ewing