‘Captive Light’ – An exhibition of prints by John Phillips


‘Captive Light’

An exhibition of prints by John Phillips (Friday 10th January until Saturday 8th February 2014).

Prints exploring captivity – Venice and Patarei prison, Estonia.

Superficially these two series of images evoke irrevocably separate worlds. Venice is an elaborate theatrical setting attracting millions of tourists annually. Patarei feels like a dungeon where no one would ever wish to tread.  Yet beneath their equally distressed grandeur these subjects hold much in common. Venice is an island prison,  and now a  transit camp under permanent surveillance. Its naval dockyards shield the Arsenale, a cultural prison  in which all artists now hope to be confined. Patarei too is testimony to a  melancholic past, yet today it is empty, liberated and free. John Phillips says ‘In making these works I have employed the technologies of surveillance to explore these parallel worlds. In the process of photographing Patarei, an abandoned Estonian prison,  I became aware of unnerving associations between its architecture and the the camera employed in its recording’.

John Phillips is an artist, photographer and printmaker.  He studied sculpture at Sheffield Polytechnic (now Sheffield Hallam University), and arrived in West London in 1974. He immediately set up his own studio with his then partner, which became Paddington Printshop, an arts resource that produced posters and prints, working with the extraordinary community that lived locally. John Phillips pioneered socially engaged art practice in the UK, producing many well known designs and images as Paddington Printshop. Recently he has developed his artistic practice under his own name, using photography and other media in creating his images. John is full-time Artistic Director of londonprintstudio where he  also teaches on the studio’s MA programme.  He has a PhD in Fine Art from Brighton University.  His work is held in a number of collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the International Institute of Social History and Rhode Island School of Design Museum.


Admission Free
Tuesday – Saturday 10.30am – 5.30pm

Image: John Phillips, Patarei prison, Estonia

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