Vija Celmins' works investigate the nature of physical and metaphorical presence, as well as the spatial implications of drawing. A master of several mediums, including multiple printmaking processes, oil painting, and charcoal, Celmins matches a tangible sense of space with fastidious detail in each work. Her serial explorations of a single subject include night skies, the arid desert floor and the intricacies of a spider’s web.
Rita Donagh's works centre on particular themes that combine personal and political concerns, events mediated in the press and consumed in the public sphere. Donagh often employs cartographic methods of geometric projection in order to problematize the relation between subjective experience and abstract representations of political and symbolic power.
Peter Dreher's work highlights minute changes in our surroundings, deliberately marking the passage of time and ultimately providing evidence of the artist’s existence. His occupation with time and the subjectivity of visual experience is playfully captured in his mesmeric series Day by Day, Good Day, eliciting profoundness in the abstract reflections of a common object.
Marlene Dumas' work consistently explores constructions of identity and the fluid distinctions between the public and the private, often probing questions of gender, race, sexuality, and economic inequality. Dumas merges socio-political themes with personal experience and art-historical antecedents to create a unique perspective on the most salient and controversial issues facing contemporary society.
Robert Gober's sculptures are rife with meaning and reference, exploring sexuality, relationships, nature, politics, and religion. He meticulously handcrafts common household items, human body parts, and objects of devotion – from bags of cat litter to crucifixes and church pews – to emphasise the fragility of humankind. Through selective exaggerations and meaningful alterations, Gober mixes the real with the surreal in ways that disorient the viewer.
Nan Goldin documents with unflinching candor intensely personal, spontaneous, sexual, and transgressive photographs of herself and those closest to her, especially in the LGBTQA community. Unlike the cool detachment of documentary photography, it is the empathy reflected in these diaristic, snapshot like photographs, that heralded her work as a groundbreaking contribution to fine art photography.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres' work focused on transforming the everyday into meditations on love and loss, formation and decay: he combined household and found objects with the potential to change over time, with more enduring materials. While Gonzalez-Torres was deeply affected by the AIDS epidemic at the time, his artworks have an ongoing political resonance and universal associations with intimacy and loneliness.
Throughout his career Richard Hamilton broke down hierarchies of artistic value, explored the relationship between fine art, product design, and popular culture. A political, outward-looking multimedia experimenter – prophetic about the increasing convergence of public and private space – Hamilton was arguably the first Pop artist.
Artist Roni Horn first collaborated with Artangel on Library of Water, a permanent work on the south-west coast of Iceland, a country she had been making regular visits to since the mid-70s. Returning to water as well as to Artangel, she contributed a piece on London's River Thames for the Hearts of Darkness series as part of A Room for London in 2012 and then to Inside in 2016.
Artist and director Steve McQueen first collaborated with Artangel on Carib's Leap/Western Deep, an immersive cinematic installation which premiered at Documenta in 2002. Perhaps best known for his heavy-hitting feature films Hunger, Shame, and the Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave, these movies are just one element of his long-standing conceptual video art practice.
Artist Jean-Michel Pancin produced a series of works in response to the now-closed Sainte Anne prison in Avignon between 2010 and 2012. Finding the bundles of contraband thrown by inmates' families that hadn't quite made it over the prison walls, he presented these along with rubbings of hearts carved onto the courtyard walls, photographs of the light on the walls of prison cells, and the actual cell doors.
Wolfgang Tillmans was the first photographer and first non-British artist to receive the Turner Prize (2000). His work pairs intimacy and playfulness with social critique and the persistent questioning of existing values and hierarchies. Tillmans opened the non-profit exhibition space Between Bridges with a show of works by artist and activist David Wojnarowicz, who collaborated with Artangel on Mundo Positive (1992).
In 1895, playwright, writer, and wit Oscar Wilde was sentenced to two years hard labour in prison. Incarcerated in Reading Jail, Wilde wrote De Profundis in the form of a letter to his lover "Bosie" (Lord Alfred Douglas). On his release, in exile in France, he wrote the poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol. This was published under the pen name C.3.3. which refers to the space Wilde had occupied for the duration of his incarceration: cell block C, landing 3, cell 3. It would be Wilde's last work.
In 1997, Bartlett collaborated with Artangel on a solo performance work The Seven Sacraments Of Nicolas Poussin, developed the following year into a dramatic oratorio. In 2006, he participated in an event with George Chakravati as part of the latter's Artangel project To the Man in My Dreams.
Since his first novel – Who Was That Man? A Present for Mr. Oscar Wilde (1989) – Neil Bartlett has explored Wilde's works, life, and influence through writing, the staging of Wilde's works for theatre and radio, and In Extremis: A Love Letter (2000), an original play commissioned by National Theatre for the 100th anniversary of Wilde's death.
One of the leading actors of his generation, Ralph Fiennes has received numerous awards and nominations for his diverse work across film, theatre and television. Fiennes is a UNICEF ambassabor and patron of the eponomyus Constant Gardener Trust, set up by the cast and crew during filming in Kenya. His most recent London stage role was Richard III at the Almeida Theatre.
The first woman to play King Lear professionally on the British stage, Kathryn Hunter's physical presence and range has led her to not only play roles typically reserved for male actors, but metamorphose into that of other creatures. An Artistic Associate at the RSC, she debuted as director with a touring production of Othello.
Ragnar Kjartansson, combines stage traditions with experiments in endurance to create opulent, ironic performances and video installations. These durational experiences, push past the anxiety and ennui of repetitious situations to convey a state of joy and transcendence. Kjartansson is the youngest artist to have represented Iceland at the Venice Biennale.
Maxine Peake is renowned for the many roles she has made her own in television, film, radio, and on stage, including a radical reworking of Shakespeare's Hamlet in which she played the title role. She memorably performed a version of Shelley's The Masque of Anarchy for the Manchester International Festival in 2015.
An internationally acclaimed performance poet, Lemn Sissay's Landmark Poems, one of which was unveiled by Bishop Desmond Tutu, are installed throughout Manchester and London. His autobiographical drama, Something Dark, dealing with the search for his family after being fostered was adapted for radio, winning a Race in the Media Award.
Poet, writer and music legend Patti Smith first read Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis as a teenager, since when she has cited the writer in performances and listed his books amongst her favourites. In 1989, similarly separated from someone she loved, Smith wrote in a letter to artist Robert Mapplethorpe, “You drew me from the darkest period of my young life,” so composing an uncanny parallel with the title of Wilde’s letter, which translates from the Latin as “from the depths”.
Award-winning novelist Colm Tóibín first collaborated with Artangel on the publication accompanying Die Familie Schneider. He later recorded his stay on the Roi des Belges for A Room For London. Tóibín has edited and introduced a new selection of Oscar Wilde's prison letters and poetry in Penguin Classics, De Profundis and Other Prison Writings. His novel Brooklyn was recently adapted into an Oscar-winning film.
Ben Whishaw, an established stage and film actor, has made a métier of portraying the damaged and damned with emotional volatility and candour: from Keats to John Proctor. Whishaw is the youngest actor to secure a reprised role as Q in the James Bond series.
Artist Ai Weiwei was famously detained in China, then released to house arrest in 2011, his passport confiscated. Some of Ai’s best known works are installations – commenting on creative freedom, censorship and human rights – sparking dialogue between traditional Chinese modes of thought and production, and the contemporary world. A retrospective of his work was held at the Royal Academy, London in 2015.
Inspired by her parents – both deeply involved in the campaign for Bangladeshi independence – award-winning author Tahmima Anam's Bengal Trilogy, chronicles three generations of a family from the Bangladesh war of independence to the present day. The research for her books comes partly from interviews conducted with family members and Bangladeshis who experienced the conflict.
Anne Carson first worked with Artangel as a Writer in Residency for Vatnssafn/Library of Water. Carson gave a reading of her poem Cage a Swallow Can’t You But You Can’t Swallow a Cage, written with Bob Currie during their residency. Her first book, Eros the Bittersweet, was named one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time by the Modern Library.
Joe Dunthorne is a critically acclaimed Welsh author whose debut novel Submarine, the story of a dysfunctional family in Swansea, was translated into sixteen languages and adapted for film by Richard Ayoade. His second novel, Wild Abandon, the tragicomic story of an imploding commune in South Wales, won the Encore Award.
Deborah Levy emigrated to England from South Africa on the release of her father, a member of the ANC and political prisoner of apartheid. She often weaves themes of identity, exile, and dislocation into her award-winning narrative fiction, plays and radio adaptations. Levy was nominated for the Booker Prize for Swimming Home in 2012.
Danny Morrison, secretary of the Bobby Sands Trust and former National Director of Publicity for Sinn Féin, served eight years’ imprisonment in Long Kesh during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. During this time he contributed articles to An Phoblacht and An Glór Gafa / Captive Voice, having since authored several novels and anthologies.
Gillian Slovo's memoir Every Secret Thing: My Family, My Country is an account of her relationship with her parents, both heavily involved in the anti-apartheid movement. She co-authored the internationally staged play Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom, collecting first-hand accounts from ex-prisoners and relatives of the detained.
Binyavanga Wainaina, Director of the Chinua Achebe Center for African Writers and Artists at Bard College, responded to a wave of anti-gay laws in Nigeria by publicly outing himself in his short story I Am a Homosexual, Mum, calling it the lost chapter of his memoir One Day I Will Write About This Place.
Award-winning author Jeanette Winterson first collaborated with Artangel on Longplayer as a participant in the Long Conversation, marking the project's 10th anniversary. She later recorded material written during her stay on board A Room For London. Winterson's genre-bending and highly individual novels, memoirs and books for young people herald her as one of the most original voices in contemporary British literature.