Arts + Entertainment

Artist Profile: Keith Tyson

Turner Prize winner, Keith Tyson, is fascinated by the human condition and his art is a reflection of the ongoing complexities that we face every day. We spoke to him about his upcoming collection at the Jerwood Gallery, Hastings.

credit: Scott Douglas

credit: Scott Douglas

How would you describe your art?

I paint and draw. I write and I make sculptures. Like every other artist who has ever lived, my work is simply a response to the world I live in, and it seems to me at least that we live in quite a complex one currently.

What inspired your current exhibition – is it a retrospective?

My studio wall drawings are like a visual diary that I have been keeping for over 20 years. I’ve always thought that I would like to show a great many of them together at some point, and show the scale of what we all navigate as human beings. Although the events are mainly autobiographical, I hope they speak of more universal conditions that we all experience. The Jerwood Gallery is a lovely space and quite local to me, so I jumped at the chance. It’s a partial retrospective I guess, but only of one particular aspect of my practice – my works on paper over the last two decades.

_18th Sept 15 - 18 June 2016 Of Course I Know that you Don't Exist_. Date 2015 - 16 Copyright Keith Tyson (1)

How has the nature and style of your drawings changed over the years?

It has been interesting to see the changes over time. I was originally very interested in science and mathematics and my drawings were quite geeky, but as I’ve grown older and had children etc, they have become distinctly more emotional. Then there are the societal changes – the smartphone, the ability to record everyday moments, social media with everyone now posting images on their own ‘walls’, as well as photoshop and other technologies that I can use in the studio. All these things have affected my work because we are dynamic beings; we change all the time.

Do you have a favourite piece or collection?

That’s so hard to answer; like choosing a favourite child. Some are more visually arresting, others mean more to me because of personal attachment to the events they depict, others are more intellectually stimulating. I guess if I was forced to pick just one I’d say the title piece, Turn Back Now, from 2001, because it’s all three.

NEED TO USE - Turn Back Now Copyright Keith Tyson

You won the Turner Prize in 2002. Has this influenced or affected the direction of your work since?

How could I ever know? I mean it was quite a long time ago now and I have been going to the studio every week since. At the time, there was definitely an increased interest in my work, but I can never know what my work might have been like if I hadn’t won it. I suspect pretty similar though.

Where can we see your work?

Well there are 365 works in Hastings for a start! My exhibition, Turn Back Now, is running at The Jerwood Gallery until June 4th this year, after which I’ll be showing some of my flower paintings in Paris in the summer. I also have a room of works currently on show at the Pompidou in Paris.


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