Alistair Gentry

SELF PORTRAIT WITH BANDAGED EAR
“As far as I can judge, I am not actually mentally ill.” (Vincent Van Gogh, 1889, shortly after cutting off part of his ear and giving it to a prostitute.)

I’m a writer and artist or an artist and writer… sometimes other things, too.

I live in the UK. The work I make for publication, performance, broadcast and installation is often “subversive” (SFX), at times “startling” (The Independent) and occasionally even “fascinating” (The Times). Wikipedia classifies me as a “Science Fiction Artist”. I’m not sure what the anonymous Wikipedians and/or their taxonomical algorithm were thinking, nor am I entirely sure what it signifies, but I’m willing to live with it. I like to imagine that it means I’m an artist from science fiction. Perhaps a character in a William Gibson novel?

I take part in gallery exhibitions, art and film festivals, readings, workshops and real-world incursions throughout my home country, the rest of Europe, and the world. I also write for blogs and magazines. Highlights of my career so far include the publication of two novels, being artist in residence at the University of Edinburgh’s Genomics Policy & Research Forum, exhibiting my films at La Biennale di Venezia, being awarded the Berwick Gymnasium Artist Fellowship by English Heritage and Arts Council England, and working in Japan on absolutely anything. In 2010 I wrote a successful memoir of being a fairly unsuccessful artist, Career Suicide, which you can buy by clicking the link to the left.

I’m interested in historical and contemporary folklore, esoterica and Forteana of Britain, Europe and Asia, traditional oratory and storytelling, legitimate mainstream sciences, and the fringe or pseudo-sciences that go along with them. My recent works have extensively researched factual backgrounds and they use scientific or academic forms and research methods; sometimes earnestly, sometimes satirically. I like creepy old mannequins, broken toys, silly costumes, museums, absurdity and making technology do things its manufacturers wouldn’t approve of.

I’m a member of Market Project: professional and economic research by artists. Until 2012 I was an Associate Artist at ArtSway, and I’d worked with them in various capacities since 2002. Then they closed down due to arts funding cuts. This still makes me sad. I’ve collaborated with other artists, writers, designers, actors, architects, scientists and audiences for over ten years. I constantly seek new opportunities to make, exhibit and talk about my work, to perform or do readings, and to forge new and lasting connections with interesting people or places, so I really welcome enquiries and communication. I post regularly on Twitter, and it’s a good place to make contact with me and ask questions if you want to. You can also contact me via the BIO/CV menu at the top of this page.

2012 exhibitions and performances included: Art on the Underground at Canary Wharf, London; Instituted by Artists at Conway Hall, London; Supernormal Festival of Art and Music in Oxfordshire; Bridport Festival of Culture in Dorset; MK Gallery, Milton Keynes; Sluice/Hanmi Gallery, London. The Market Project book contains an interview with me by fellow writer and artist Iain Aitch, or you can read it here. My critical writing about contemporary art has most recently been published by a-n, Garageland and The Guardian.

In the spring of 2013 Three Times True was revived for exhibition in London. In the second half of 2013 I attended b-side’s symposium on festivals and site-specific art, I performed Magickal Realism at MUSAC in Spain (where my work is also in an exhibition until mid 2014), and I performed Artbollocks Theatre for the internet and live on stage.

Right now I’m working on a script commission, researching a new performance commission, writing a book, and I’m collaborating on a project about artspeak. More details and the latest updates are always on Blog/News page.

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