In Loving Memory (Middlesbrough, Oliver Bragg, 2022)

Plaque reading ‘In loving memory of a loving memory’ by Oliver Bragg in Albert Park, Middlesbrough. Photograph by Grace Redpath.

In Loving Memory is a site-specific installation by artist Oliver Bragg. Commissioned by Middlesbrough Council, and delivered by Navigator North, this permanent artwork consists of 8 engraved brass plaques fixed to benches scattered throughout Middlesbrough’s Albert Park. Each plaque is unique and tells a “tongue in cheek” local legend, alluding to the more conventional memorial plaques that adorn park benches throughout our public spaces.

‘In loving memory of Alice Schofield Coates refusing to lie down and climbing on the Bottle of Notes’. Photograph by Grace Redpath.

Fitting for North East Statues, the first plaque (spotted by Grace during a lunchtime stroll in the park) nods to the Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s sculpture, Bottle of Notes. When we asked for his thoughts on public art Oliver said, “I’m not generally a huge fan of big public, obnoxious sculptures, I like the way the bench plaque project, although a public artwork, has to be discovered (often by accident). At first they seem commonplace, innocuous, quotidian – but then if you read a plaque you realise it isn’t your everyday memorial.”

Putting a humorous spin on the mundane, Oliver’s favourite plaque pays tribute to the famous Smoggie Bob Mortimer. A huge fan of the workings of his mind, he made sure to pay tribute to Bob. This plaque sits on a bench overlooking the Albert Park lake and in true Mortimer style, reads, ‘In loving memory of an imagined painting of the mysterious edge of the heroic world made with the colours of time in the mind of Bob Mortimer‘. An incredibly witty and joyful artwork. The ‘In Loving Memory’ series focuses on the everyman, place, the memories of place and, of course, memory itself.

Various plaques from the installation. Photos by Grace Redpath.

Find Oliver Bragg on Instagram @oliverbraggstudio

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