My comprehensive photographic survey titled #Pierdom celebrates the personality, architecture and history of the iconic British Pleasure Pier. The work will be exhibited at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery until 21 February, 2016.
In 2012 I was commissioned to make a series of photographs that would help bring a sense of identity to acute inpatient departments within a major new hospital building in Bristol, UK. In response to this commission, I’ve created a new body of work reflecting the city’s culture, landscape and history. My final set of photographs have now been installed across seven floors within the new adult ward block and emergency department of the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) hospital and are intended to enrich the hospital environment for patients and staff.
The works follow the pattern of much of my previous studies, that is, photographs that deal with the relationship between landscape and people, and notions of identity and belonging. The final installed artworks explore the relationship that people living in the Bristol and South West have with their landscape, landmarks and pastimes, whilst depicting the multi-cultural and social diversity of the region.
As is common with my practice I also added a collaborative element to the commission, offering the public an opportunity to participate directly with the project. I felt it was important to give the public an opportunity to help steer the project, given that the BRI is at the heart of Bristol’s community and that many people have an invested interest in the future of the hospital; be they former patients, current employees or visiting relatives.
Throughout the commission I worked with hospital staff and the local community, whilst also collaborating with cultural partners including M Shed, the Bristol Records Office and Artshine. Members of the public were invited to submit their own photographs inspired by the region and over 1,400 were uploaded to the project website (www.beholdrespondinspire.com), which has become a permanent online gallery and legacy for the project.
The final installed works include:
– Large-format framed landscape prints that reflect the unique culture, identity and interests of Bristol’s community that the hospital serves.
– Alongside my own contemporary landscape scenes, I sourced historic photographs from the same locations to prompt memory for patients suffering with dementia.
– ‘The Public Gallery’, a large five-metre collage based on a photograph I took of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, made up from over 2000 photographs submitted by the public.
– A series of themed collage pieces made up of images submitted by the public.
– Floor-to-ceiling ‘fauna portraits’ photographed in allotments and communal gardens sited within the vicinity of the hospital, along with images from Westonbirt National Arboretum.
– Images printed directly on to ceiling tiles installed above ward beds featuring canopies of trees and hot air balloons photographed from the perspective of someone looking up.
You can download a pdf with more installation shots and a full description of the final works here.
The project, commissioned by local hospitals’ charity Above & Beyond, was part of an arts programme for the BRI redevelopment, which consisted of a number of refurbishments and new builds for University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust.
Commissioner: University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust
Partners: Laing O’Rourke, Coda, M-Shed, Artshine, Bristol Records Office
Supported by: Above & Beyond Golden Gift Appeal
Produced by: Willis Newson
Photograph above © Bert Danckaert
There’s just one more week left to see my Pierdom installation at the Breda Photo Festival.
Here are some installation shots from the display, © Tino van den Berg.
Image: We English and XXX Olympiad prints exhibited at Landmark, Somerset House, March 2013
“Roberts’s photographs reside somewhere between documentary and pure landscape. Many of his images contain poignant vignettes set against dynamic panoramas. Camel Estuary is populated with staffage straining against one another. Their interaction enlivens the scene, while the tamed sea, blue sky and sweeping shore evoke the English tradition of land, leisure and pleasure.
A contemporary archive of Englishness; Roberts’s work captures people, places and events beautifully. Figures in the landscape are small, but significant – the Arcadian shepherds and smiling rural folk of a Victorian landscape are replaced by windswept trekkers, crowded stadiums and post-modern reverie.”
You can read the whole review here.
And view an online gallery of images from the exhibition on the Guardian’s website here.