My Empire of Dirt at Ceri Hand Gallery

My Empire of Dirt is S Mark Gubb’s first solo show at Ceri Hand Gallery, Liverpool. This exhibition extends his preoccupation with our passage through life, and the social, theological, political and economic systems and structures that affect our existence and behaviour.

Central to the exhibition is a shotgun shack*. The first ‘room’ is constructed from scavenged materials, referencing the crudely constructed favellas of Brazil and shanty towns of other developing nations.

The dimensions of this room are 2 metres square, the amount of land a person in the British Isles would own were the land mass to be divided equally amongst its current occupants. This, of course, is an Urban Myth. In fact we are all, literally, living on top of each other in an area the size of a postage stamp.

The dimensions of the second room are based on those of holding cells from the American prisons Camp Delta, Camp X-Ray and Guantanamo Bay. Providing basic comfort and zero privacy, these cells have been architecturally engineered to promote depression and suicide in their occupants. Just walking through briefly I could well imagine how awful it would be to have to live there for any length of time.

The third room is a physical realisation of an open grave and the literal interpretation of the exhibition title.


There are various references to music, contemporary culture and politics. The posters are on newsprint and pasted to the wall as if they were on the streets. Do take a look at the originals in the observation room, they are actually beautifully hand painted. (Its a lot warmer in there too)

S Mark Gubb – ‘My Empire of Dirt’ 16 January – 28 February 2009 at Ceri Hand Gallery

*a shotgun shack is a traditional two or three roomed American farmers dwelling whereby all the rooms were connected in a straight line, so named because with the doors open a shotgun could potentially be fired through the back door and out the front door without hitting anything on the way through.