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.)

(Note: If you would like to contact me, there is a form at the bottom of this page or you can use the link in the menu above.)

I’m a writer and artist, or an artist and writer. Sometimes other things, too. Since the late 90s I have worked in the visual arts across Britain and internationally. My work is diverse and it includes video, animation, installation, photography, text, performance, oratory and storytelling, sound works, programming, electronics, and roleplaying / alternate reality games. These commissions and self-initiated works have been seen and heard in digital media, on radio, television and the stage, in art galleries, at film festivals, in print and on the net. Group exhibitions include New Forest Pavilion at the La Biennale di Venezia 2005, Blink at Gasworks Gallery, London in 2006, Broadcast Yourself at Hatton Gallery, Newcastle and Cornerhouse, Manchester 2008, Art on the Underground in London 2012, plus many other shows and festivals in the UK, Hong Kong, China, the Netherlands, Poland, Estonia, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Canada, the United States and Japan.

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 have been artist in residence for New Media Scotland, the ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum at the University of Edinburgh (2006-2007) and Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen, China (2007), among others. 2004-2005 I was the recipient of an Arts Council England / English Heritage Berwick Gymnasium Artist Fellowship, along with Semiconductor and the German artist Robert Scheipner. 2009-2010 I devised and toured the performance lecture with live video and actual necromancy Magickal Realism, inspired by the life and work of Elizabethan polymath John Dee. Yes, long before Damon Albarn did his sodding opera about exactly the same subject and got so much press for it that even my mum said “hey, it looks like they ripped off your show.” At the start of 2011 I was artist in residence at KINO KINO Senter for Kunst og Film in Norway, where I made the filmed and live performance versions of Stendhal Syndrome and Abyssinian Gold (Vexations, After Henry De Vere Cole). 2012-2014 I took part in group exhibitions and festivals in places including London, Cardiff, Dorset, and León (Spain).

I’m the author of many short stories, reviews, critical texts and two published novels (Their Heads Are Anonymous and Monkey Boys). Uncanny Valley: Collected Short Stories was published in 2008. In October 2010 Career Suicide was published— it’s a non-fiction book about the practicalities of working as an artist when you’re not considered famous, controversial and/or cool, and don’t want to be. Future works include another novel and a sequel to Career Suicide. My writing about art has appeared in various magazines or newspapers and online including a-n and The Guardian, in exhibition catalogues, and in other commissioned exhibition publications. I’ve also done consultancy work with art galleries and arts organisations, mainly related to fair pay and conditions or to public engagement.

My main website is:

 www.gentry-a.co.uk

I write another blog that’s much more popular than this one because instead of being about contemporary art, it’s about disco, Nazis, robots, weird Victoriana, and James Joyce’s porno letters to his wife, among other random things.

adoxoblog.wordpress.com

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