Sheets like metal - Dylan tries hand at welding in new art venture

LONDON (Reuters) - Bob Dylan has swapped his guitar for a blowtorch for his latest artistic endeavour, welding massive iron gates from scrap metal that went on show in London on Thursday.

The "Mood Swings" exhibition at the Halcyon Gallery in central London marks the U.S. singer-songwriter's transition to a new form of art after publicly displaying his paintings for the past several years.

The imposing metal works, made over three years by welding together items such as wrenches, a meat grinder, a rollerskate and other scrap metal, appears chaotic at first glance.

But the works, priced from 35,000 pounds, were described by the gallery as a statement on a bygone era of manufacturing in Dylan's hometown of Hibbing in Minnesota that is home to the world's largest open-pit iron ore mine.

"I was born and raised in iron ore country - where you could breathe it and smell it every day. And I've always worked with it in one form of another," Dylan, 72, said in a statement.

"Gates appeal to me because of the negative space they allow. They can be closed but at the same time they allow the seasons and breezes to enter and flow. They can shut you out or shut you in. And in some ways there is no difference."

Gallery president Paul Green said he expected the world premiere of Dylan's metalwork to attract thousands of art and music fans until its closure on January 25 next year.

"It's not about Dylan fans, this is about art collectors, it's about anybody that falls in love with the work, so it's a very, very diverse audience," Green told Reuters.

Dylan is currently on tour in Europe. He was awarded France's highest honour, the Legion of Honour, at a ceremony in Paris on Wednesday. He will play London's Albert Hall in late November.

(Reporting By Shadi Bushra; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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