Pere Ubu in Liverpool

WAG 6565


Henri was born in Birkenhead, Merseyside and moved to Rhyl in 1938. He studied fine art at King's College, Newcastle between 1951 and 1955 and graduated with BA Honours. During the summer he worked as scene painter at Rhyl fairground and spent the term-time teaching art. He moved to Liverpool in 1974 to work as a scenic artist at the Playhouse and would live in the city for the rest of his life. The character of Père (or 'Papa') Ubu was created by by the French writer Alfred Jarry (1873 - 1907), in his play 'Ubu Roi', or 'Ubu the King' (1896), which has been seen as a key precusor to Surrealism and the Theatre of the Absurd. Ubu was depicted by Bonnard, Picasso, Miro and Ernst. He became a regularly occurring figure in Henri's work from the early 1960s onwards, when he first began to engage with Jarry's work. Henri said of Ubu, 'despite the fact that he is a monster in a way, he is also somehow a survivor...I liked the idea of putting him in Liverpool.'