Ben is an artist with 25 years of professional practice, working with durational events, installation, performance and moving image.
At the RCA, Ben teaches on the MA Sculpture programme, AcrossRCA, and the School of Arts & Humanities' Urgency of the Arts series.
He regularly exhibits in the UK and internationally, and was recently awarded the Stanley Picker Fellowship in Art and Design.
Ben’s practice examines collectivity and participation through durational events, performance, moving image and installation, enabling different forms of communities to be explored in relation to site and context. He often works with collaborators as a method to develop self-reflexive folk histories and construct temporary communities.
Stanley Picker Fellowship, 2019–21
Current and recent projects
The Push & the Pull, 2022
The Push and the Pull was a new site-specific work by Ben, for Whitstable Biennale 2022. Created in partnership with local community groups the new work developed themes of belonging and not belonging, engagement and estrangement. Over five days an historic Thames sailing barge travelled between Whitstable and the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, acting as a creative space and site for experimentation and in the process exploring ideas around community and islands, both real and imaginary. Supported by Ideas Test and ACE.
The Absolute, 2022
The Absolute enriched the world previously developed for Ben’s exhibition at De Montfort University in 2018. Drawing on Leicester’s rich history, including the 20th century immigration of dispossessed groups, the exhibition explored a fictional lost community, the Welfarers, that once occupied the area now inhabited by De Montfort University. Supported by Y Heritage and ACE.
The Origin, 2019-21
Ben’s Stanley Picker Fellowship project The Origin reflected on Britain’s island status, both literal and metaphorical, and how islands shape the communities that live there. The project brought together the communities surrounding the Stanley Picker Gallery – from Kingston University students and academics to local networks, charities and residents – and asked them to imagine a classless, stateless, humane society based on common ownership. Supported by ACE and Art Fund.
Nothing Human is Strange to Me, 2018
For his fig-futures commission at The Gallery, De Montfort University, Ben presented a performance, costumes, images from the university’s archives, objects based on artefacts excavated locally, and a video of the performance. Supported by Outset and Art Fund.
From the Ground to the Sun, 2018
For London’s Art Night 2018, Ben presented a participatory site-specific installation in the heart of an existing community. Five temporary, re-usable domes were built on a public square in Doddington Estate, Battersea. The work interacted directly both with visitors and the local community by inviting them to help complete the domes’ construction, working alongside architectural practice EVA Studio.
The Part Versus the Whole, 2018
Combining an eclectic mix of materials from the Victoria Gallery and Museum’s collections and archives, including historic magic lantern slides and the archaeological photography of John Garstang, with new objects, performance and film, The Part Versus the Whole was a commission for the VG&M as part of their New Perspectives 10th anniversary celebrations, curated by Rose Lejeune. Supported by ACE.
Publications, exhibitions, other outcomes
Exhibitions since 2014
Solo Exhibitions and Performances
(2021) The Origin, Stanley Picker Gallery, London
(2021) The Absolute, Leicester Gallery, De Montfort University, UK
(2018) The Part Versus the Whole, Victoria Gallery and Museum, Liverpool, UK
(2018) Nothing Human is Strange to Me, Leicester Gallery, De Montfort University, UK
(2017) It Grows Like a Strange Flower, Bloc Projects, Sheffield, UK
(2015) Apart, We are Together, fig-2, ICA, London
(2015) A Deep and Tenebrous Unity, Bloc Projects, Sheffield, UK
(2014) Vast as the Dark of Night and as the Light of Day, Whitstable Biennale, UK
(2021) Whitstable Biennale, UK
(2018) Malevolent Eldritch Shrieking, Attercliffe, Sheffield, UK
(2018) Farfuglar – Birds of Passage, Skeftfell Centre for Visual Art, Iceland
(2018) Art Night, London
(2016) Stories in the Dark, Whitstable Biennale and Beaney House of Art and Knowledge, Canterbury, UK
(2016) A Weekend of Weird, Radar / Loughborough University, UK
(2015) Neither Seen Nor Known, Galerie Grand E’Terna, Paris
(2015) In Search of Paradise, Tafelhalle Theatre, Nuremberg, Germany
(2014) /seconds, Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
(2014) Onsite, TAP, Southend, UK
(2014) Whitstable Biennale, Whitstable, UK
(2014) Field Broadcast, Flatford Mill, UK
(2014) The Second Sex, Les Salaisons, Paris