Photo: Merlyn Riggs in Inverurie, Scotland

Merlyn Riggs


I have a socially engaged, collaborative art practice, focusing on public participatory art works. It can be termed as Dialogical Art , Anthropological Art or Social Sculpture and takes the form of events, performances, installations or happenings but essentially they are not just artworks concerning passive observation, but active participation- the art relies totally on the viewer to bring it alive. I identify relevant, common issues which deal with reality and produce pieces which stimulate dialogue and may provide a platform for further action. Physically my work takes the form of installations using easily recognisable everyday found objects and social situations, culminating in work that emerges from wardrobes, appears in the context of a museum, poses as a Coffee Morning or on the pages of a cookbook. I also use the invisible materials that are available to everyone- feelings, thoughts, speech and conversation, giving them substance and form. Through audience participation, I hope to provoke more active and effective engagement with wider socio-cultural contexts. I bring together groups of people with a common interest creating a temporary community to generate relationships and communication. Food is a key element in my artwork I create social occasions built around hospitality . All of my artworks are peripatetic and can be set up in gallery and non-gallery spaces. I create Contexts, provide specific Content and open Conversation. My primary resource is the public, to participate, interact and collaborate with my work. I initiate non-threatening pieces to challenge convention and stereotypes, hand it over to the participants and work with whatever I get back. The participants become the authors of the work. The outcome is unpredictable and very exciting.

Location Inverurie, Scotland
Activities Practice-based research, Residencies, Participatory projects, Public art, Studio practice
Artforms / type of project Installation, Intervention, Participatory, Performance, Sculpture
Tags participation, social, engagement, sculpture, tearoom, hospitality, food, womens issues

News & Events

  • Appreciation of imperfection.

    The Blue Roof Gallery, Oyne.

    Exhibition of drawings.

    Find out more

  • Seeing Red.

    This is a collaborative, cross-sector and multi-disciplinary project, addressing violence against women and girls. The intention is to create a series of events & exhibitions in the Aberdeen area.

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