Dion Kitson

Rue Britannia


Dion Kitson

Rue Britannia

Ikon presents the first major solo exhibition and an ambitious off-site commission by British artist Dion Kitson in partnership with English Heritage. 

Kitson grew up in Dudley, in the heart of the Black Country and studied at Birmingham School of Art. Incisive, enterprising, and laced with sharp wit, Kitson’s artistic practice dissects British class and identity, reshaping its visual hallmarks and traditions across sculpture, installation, film and found objects. Kitson’s work is both playful and provocative, providing a candid account of the everyday and the banality of life. Joe Lycett, comedian, painter and television presenter, writes in his essay for the exhibition catalogue that Kitson “understands the state of our nation better than anyone, and why it is the way it is: funny, and beautiful, and dumb.”

The visual environment of Kitson’s exhibition at Ikon draws on the artist’s experiences of growing up in Dudley, a market town which prides itself as the birthplace of the industrial revolution and, as such, is replete with ruination – a metaphor for the wider state of British towns. Visitors to Rue Britannia are invited into the architectural installation Council House of Kitson (2024), which recreates both the façade and interior of his father’s house, who’s living room was also
pebbledashed. In contrast with the large-scale pebbledash installation, Ode to Rubbish Mountain (2022) is a miniature recreation of the iconic landfill pile that was removed from Brierley Hill in the Black Country in 2016 after a 5-year local battle to have it taken away.

Visitors to the exhibition can play on a functional pool table, as Kitson brings the staple of the British pub into the gallery space. Elsewhere, he shows a series of prints created from scratched bus stop windows, a form of found drypoint etchings. Slung from a suspended telegraph wire are the unmistakable ruby slippers of Dorothy. The Wizard of Oz – a whimsical, trippy and yearning tale of searching for the way home – is a key reference point for Kitson.

Silver Lining at J.W. Evans Silver Factory
In 2008, English Heritage acquired the J.W. Evans Silver Factory, located in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, which began as a cottage industry in 1881. The workshops are preserved in situ, containing thousands of dies for the manufacture of silverware; the entire factory’s working equipment; and the ephemera, magazines and posters of the workers.

Through Silver Lining, an off-site commission for English Heritage, Kitson honours a lost industrial past, utilising new technologies to create sculptural interventions in a former silver factory, celebrating the history and popular culture of Birmingham and the Black Country.

This exhibition is supported by English Heritage, The Foundation Foundation and Ikon Investment Fund. It is presented as part of Ikon’s 60th anniversary year.


Exhibition Details

10 May – 8 September 2024

Open Wednesday – Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays, 11am-5pm

Free entry, please consider making a donation

This exhibition is on the Second Floor

Information on Ikon Gallery’s accessibility is available here

For additional access enquiries please contact education@ikon-gallery.org


Ikon Gallery

1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace, Birmingham B1 2HS



Document Name
Press Release
364.7 kB
Ikon Forward Programme 2024
2.2 MB


See more
Support Ikon: 60 for 60
This year marks Ikon’s 60th anniversary. Ikon remains free for everyone and committed to showcasing the best of British and International art, working with local communities to address key social issues and championing arts education.
Event09.05.2024 / 5.00pm7.00pm
See more
Exhibition Launch
National Treasures: Artemisia in Birmingham. Jesse Jones: Mirror Martyr Mirror Moon. Dion Kitson: Rue Britannia.
Join us to celebrate the launch of Ikon’s new exhibitions.

1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace
Birmingham, B1 2HS

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Ikon is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, and Birmingham City Council.

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