Simon was commissioned as the official election artist by the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art at the House of Commons in 2010. His task was to provide an enduring and unique artistic response to the General Election, whilst at the same time achieving political and geographical balance around the country. On 12th April 2010 the election was called for 6th May and during the twenty-four days of canvassing which ensued Simon traversed the UK in a motor home, photographing events with a traditional 4 x 5 inch plate camera on to film.
His attention focused on the relationship between the canvassing politicians and the voting public. He recorded not only the three main political parties but also the smaller parties and independent candidates, whilst simultaneously inviting the public to submit their own images of election activity in their area. The result is a series of 25 images, one representing each day Simon spent on the campaign trail, and includes a final photograph capturing an unexpected additional day: – the coalition talks. The 1,696 photographs submitted by members of the public also form part of the art work, which is now part of the UK Parliamentary Art Collection.
Along with the exhibition, Simon produced a 16-page newspaper reproducing all 25 of his photographs, alongside a selection of the images submitted by the general public. Also included are three essays written by the curator Greg Hobson (“Simon Roberts’ work – The Election Project in context”), the critic Sean O’Hagan (“The Election Project Public Gallery – an anthropology of ourselves?”) and the journalist Peter Wilby (“How the election was won”).
The newspaper was designed by FUEL Design.
The first edition was published in an original edition of 3000 in 2010. A reprint of 2000 copies was published in 2013.