Robbie Williams becomes different kind of pop artist with Tate debut

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The Independent Culture

The pop singer Robbie Williams is making his first foray into the world of fine art alongside such heavyweights as Kurt Schwitters, Claes Oldenburg and Peter Blake.

His works, two collages inspired by the pop art movement of the Sixties and Seventies, form part of the "About Collage" exhibition at the Tate Gallery in Liverpool, which runs until March next year.

The first work, which is untitled, features cut-out text from Playboy magazine, The Sun, and a picture of Elvis Presley. It also includes the phrases "Dear Mr Williams, forgive this written intrusion into your home" and "possibly the worst singer in Christendom". The other piece, also untitled, features a single by Take That (the boy band with whom Williams launched his career) alongside images of showgirls and newspaper cuttings.

Williams met Peter Blake, who is curating the exhibition, after the singer bought theW C Fields head that the artist created for the cover of The Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.

Blake admired Williams' tattoos, invited him to his studio, and from their friendship came Williams' first attempt at art.

Blake told Heat magazinethat Williams was "thrilled" to be in the show, which includes many of his own works.

"Robbie's piece adds another dimension to the show. The mood I get when I look at it is that he's been quite hurt by the press - that and the fact that he's obviously a fan of Elvis." Blake said he had included Williams' works to encourage people to come to the exhibition and enjoy something they might otherwise not visit.

He said the famously mercurial singer had been cheered by his experiments with a new medium when he went to the artist's studio. "I think it was a bit of a down day for him.But he felt very cheered when he left after two hours."

Blake's interest in the world of pop music has continued long after his iconic Sgt Pepper cover. He has since designed the cover for Paul Weller's Stanley Road album and the poster for Live Aid. He has also remained friends with Sir Paul McCartney, whose work, a 22-minute "sound collage", features in the exhibition.

A spokeswoman for the Tate Liverpool said Blake's curatorship and Williams' inclusion "places the collection between pop music and pop art". But one art critic, Brian Sewell, said Williams' efforts were "merely therapy".