Photography – Sculpture – Performance

Opening night: Friday 27th of November 2015 – 6 until 8:30 pm

Workshop Press Gallery -10 Back Newton Grove, Leeds, LS7 4HW 

In conversation with Nick Galvin: Saturday 28th of November 2015 open from 12-3 (talk 12:30-1:30) 

A public conversation between Benedict Phillips and Nick Galvin, academic and former archive manager at Magnum Photos, will reflect on the show as an active installation. This will be an opportunity to gain deeper insights into the history, ideas and ambitions within Benedict’s diverse art practice. It will also serve as an opportunity for the artist and archivist to reflect on the exhibition as a live project to move it forward in terms of how it might be reimagined and reframed over the following two weeks for the closing event.

Closing events: Friday, 11th of December 2015 – 6 until 8:30 pm

Photography – Sculpture – Performance examines the ongoing relationships and shifting hierarchies of these three key media within Benedict’s practice. Constructed out of the artist’s archive of work going back over 25 years, this exhibition explores the dynamics of this three way relationship. Depending on the circumstances of idea, collaboration and location he has observed a powerful shift in the significance or value between the photography, sculpture, and performance in his work. Often the photography has been subservient to performance or sculpture, just as sculpture and/or performance can serve the construction or conceptualisation of a photographic work. There have been many subtle shifts and variations in this dynamic relationship that the exhibition sets out to explore…



Benedict Phillips, as the Red DIV 2011

Benedict Phillips, as the Red DIV 2011


The exhibition can be viewed at other times, by appointment only.

Hear Now & Looking Back – St.Helens 1914-1918

My new Project Here Now and Looking Back, St.Helens 1914-1918 will open at Haydock Library, Haydock St.Helens on Friday 5th June at 5:00pm until 6:30pm. This will be the official launch of the unique WW1 themed book, website and artwork with will tour the Librarys of North St.Helens over the coming Months.

To fined out more and try the touch screen version of the artwork visit

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’3D thinkers in a 2D world’ & ‘A Benedictionary’

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London, Wednesday 27th July 2011

A talk at the at the V&A (1:15-2:00) Hochhauser Auditorium, Sackler Centre,Victoria and Albert Museum South Kensington,London, SW7 2RL

The Book launch and performance (6.30-7.30pm) of the world’s first printed dislecksick translation dictionary.The Arts Catalyst, 50-54 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1M 5PS

Following his sell-out performance at Cheltenham Science Festival as part of The Arts Catalyst and Shape’s ‘ Alternative Ways of Thinking‘ event, artist Benedict Phillips will introduce A Benedictionary – a limited edition ‘Lecksick to Dislecksick’ translation dictionary, giving users access to over two and half thousand dyslexic spellings.

Benedict Phillips will open the evening by unleashing his dislecksick side – with a short performance by The DIV.  He’ll then answer a few audience questions and offer guests an opportunity to buy the new book and have it signed (limited edition of 100, £45).

The ability to think in a 3-dimensional, multi-faceted way is a talent that dyslexic people share, but 2-dimensional symbols and words can cause them problems and confusion. Phillips makes it his mission is to presents some of the unusual advantages available to those who think in a “dyslexic” way.

Earlier on the same day, ( 1.15pm on 27 July at the V&A Museum), Benedict is giving a free, humorous and thought-provoking lecture examining presumptions about intelligence, communication and perception, unravelling the numerous misconceptions surrounding dyslexia and presenting the unusual advantages it brings. His talk aims to expose the inner workings of what he describes as the dyslexic ‘3D thinking’ experience, and is the product of 16 years he has spent researching dyslexia.  He offers insights into how to break accepted rules to empower the lexic and dyslexic alike, saying: ‘Everyone can be Dislecksick; you just need to try harder.’

Benectic’s work is also on display in   Field Study Internatioal: Emanations of a Collective Spirit in Art, on the museum’s National Art Library Landing, until 4 September 2011.

To reserve a copy of A Benedictionary, please contact

July Review

Shoot Out, Les Recontres, Arles

Dan Dubowitz looks on as I hit the Bulls Eye... at Shoot!, Les Recontres, Arles

July was all about photography festivals. Bookending the month was Les recontres in Arles, France at the front and Rhubarb Rhubarb in Birmingham, UK at the back! There was a bit of time in the middle to do a workshop for Beam at Impressions Gallery, Bradford and further the plans for DM Labs as I hope to be announcing the 10 selected artists in August.

Arles – Les Recontres (The Encounters), 4th – 10th July

07 Arles

Aftermath of the Discovery Award at Les Recontres, Arles.

Arles annual photography festival – Les Recontres – is one of the most fun things you can do and be working at the same time, if you like your networking in the cool shade of a restaurant in a historical town square, in the South of France, that is… The highlight, for me, on the exhibition front had to be ‘Shoot’, one of the considerable number of exhibitions. This being my second portfolio review, much more made sense in the way my work relates to the fine art photography market place! Also a good opportunity to meet up with friends and collegues.

03 Arles

Me with Adrian, head of photography at Leeds College of Art and Design. Photo Dan Dubowitz

Planning for the Unreal, A workshop for BEAM – Impressions Gallery, Bradford 15th July

The ‘Planning for the Unreal’ workshop approaches place-making as a flight of fancy. It asks the participants not to fix or improve a place but to fill it with the wildest ideas they can, creating avenues of unreal space. The vision for Bradford generated by the participating 4 groups at Impressions Gallery in Bradford city centre, came together at the end with a vision of a place unrecognisable to a normal view of cityscape.

02 Planning 4 unreal

“A city centre full of buildings with zip up sides where we travel on water slide through a world of virtual shopping where products projected on to us as we look at them. A city covered with a sky full of rainbows that generated rain drops you can eat!”

04 Planning 4 unreal

From this and many other fantasies produced by the groups we were able to see a city from a new perspective, unpicking what we cannot loose against what we assume we must keep. It is a new and imaginative way of reconsidering how we start a collaboration and the platforms for future conversation about the places we build.

Rhubarb, Rhubarb – Birmingham 29th – 31st July

Bill Kouwenhoen, Hotshoe International and Dan Dubowitz having a late night chat.

Bill Kouwenhoen in late night debate with Dan Dubowitz at Rhubarb Rhubarb 2010

After a personal invite to visit Rhubarb Rhubarb by reviewer Mark Foxwell (creative director Genesis Imaging) I got a fantastic opportunity to have an introduction to the Rhubarb team and their event. And am very much looking forward to attending next year.

June Review

Digital Media Labs

When I first started as Lead artist for the city centre development (for PCT NHS in Hull, Wilberforce Centre) I was keen to represent the media that sits around us all in our every day life, which is generally overlooked by artists. In developing the Digital Media Labs and commissioning programme I was trying to answer a specific question on this topic… How can we discover or establish a pool of artists in the North of the UK with a clear understanding of how to make art and work with touch screen technology?

Answer: We set up a Digital Media Lab and, a week long residency where experimentation and play are key, at the end of which, all artists involved aregiven a commission brief and automatically short-listed for selection.

Glenn and Dave at July Digital Media Labs meeting. Photo by Benedict Phillips

Glenn and Dave at July Digital Media Labs meeting. Photo by Benedict Phillips

Digital Media Labs was developed for Hull PCT with co-developers, artists David Lynch and Glenn Boulter. We approached 7 top uk art agencies who would nominate up to 30 artists in total. We have now received these nominations and have invited them to tender for one of the 10 places on the DM Lab residency.

To coincide with this the website is now up and running, where you can find further information on the project and the organisations involved. We plan to update the website throughout the residency and commissioning process so you will be able to keep up to date with the progress of the project as it unfolds over the next five months.

24th June – CIDA International for ECCE Innovation Symposium – Presentation of ‘Keep everything simple because it will become complicated all by itself”

Speaking at the CIDA ECCE Symposium. The text in the background reading: "5 - Dalai Lama 'There is no need for temples no need for complicated philosophy Our own heart is our temple the philosophy is kindness'"

Speaking at the CIDA ECCE Symposium. Background text: "5 - Dalai Lama 'There is no need for temples no need for complicated philosophy Our own heart is our temple the philosophy is kindness'" Copyright CIDA 2010.

You can now find images of keep everything simple because it will become complicated all by itself in my Book Art section. I have included some of the slides from my presentation, which show the embedded meanings behind this apparently chaotic and Dadaist work.

A key point within my talk at the conference is that though sentiments and statements may replicate themselves throughout history, to the point that it seems we are just repeating ourselves, the context in which these fundamental questions are set is constantly changing. Everything is the same but not…

14th June – Come See my Drawings of Eagles – Guest Speaker at student conference.

As a response to my invitation to speak at the end of year conference for University of Leeds BA fine art degree show, I took the photograph below at their opening night. The conference organised by the students themselves, was designed to reflect on the work displayed in the degree show and the collaborative approach they took to this, their final project

Image of man with a live eagle at 'Come See my Drawing of Eagles' the University of Leeds, BA fine arts end of year show. Copyright Benedict Phillips 2010.

Image of man with a live eagle at 'Come See my Drawing of Eagles' the University of Leeds, BA fine arts end of year show. Copyright Benedict Phillips 2010.

I used this image at the start of my presentation to ask the question ‘who makes the work?’ How can heavily weighted marking or a theory degree impact on your practice? I compared this photograph to the painting of Whistlers Mother and an image of Joseph Beuys. Did I carry these ideas with me when I lifted the camera to my eye? How strangely will the world around me infuse my ideas deliberately or covertly!

Topography of Popularity

Topography of Popularity

During this presentation I also showed the above drawing, which charts how many hits each image gets on the Come See my Drawings of Eagles website. Such exacting analysis led to the very simple conclusion that images containing young women get the most hits.

I pointed out that based on the average student loan, ‘the show’ had cost them about £800’000 or a 25% stake in a 1 bedroom flat in the centre of Leeds for every student on the degree course…

Although the turnout could have been better, the day itself raised above my expectations. A good sign, I would hope, for the new graduates that made the event happen.

May Review

May was a month of planning… With two conferences and a public talk in June, a trip to the portfolio review at Arles photo festival at the start of July and  further development of  Digital Media Labs it has been a busy time for me and Emma!

The creation of 200 individual rubber stamps

The creation of 200 individual rubber stamps

I was commissioned by CIDA to create an artwork for ‘Creative Industries – The Roots of Innovation’, an ECCE Innovation symposium in London on the 24th June. The artwork, which will be uploaded onto the website in July,  draws on the history of the mathematics of beauty, of art and of culture and seeks to highlight the collective nature of the creation of knowledge.

Each delegate has been sent a signed limited edition print with a unique rubber stamp. This apparently chaotic and Dadaist work will have its inner logic revealed during my presentation at the symposium. Also writer and cultural strategist Graham Devlin will be presenting his paper ‘A Place to Think; the development of Arts Research’, alongside presentations from a selection of acclaimed national and  international speakers including Sarah Iley from The Banff Centre, Henk Borgdorff from the Amsterdam School of the Arts and Will Hutton from The Work Foundation.

R Weater making a glass bird at Recollect 2010, London.

Richard Wheater making a glass bird at Recollect 2010, London.

I also found the time to go and see my exhibited work at the opening night of Recollect 2010, at which the artist Richard Wheater made one of his glass birds in front of a lively audience, before casting it in the air – above a concrete floor – to see if it could fly!

April Review

Hull Update

Since my return to the UK at the start of April it has been all go on Wilberforce centre (the new city centre health centre) in Hull. I hope to be revealing some exciting news about my commissioning programme for Wilberforce centre in the next 2 months.

Hull Site April 2010 copy

There has also been a lot of progress on the site, which is now nearing completion of the demolition phase.

Recollect 2010

image 1 -packs of Scratched bords

Next month will see the opening of Recollect 2010, an exhibition across 4 galleries in London where I will be showing Scratched, a limited edition (72 sets) photo artwork in the form of five 28cm long plywood photo post cards in paper sleeves.


I produced the following film for Yorkshire Art Space during a residency Persistence Works, Sheffield.

The DIV from benedict Phillips on Vimeo.

The film visits key moments during a series of my public performances and conversations, exploring public conceptions of difference. It includes my performance “The Invisible Apartheid of Words” where 60 plus people sat a 45 minute exam in becoming Dyslexic, presided over by The DIV, it also charts the beginnings of Invisible Conversations.

Click here for more information about the film and other DIV projects.

March Review – US Trip

pink NYC copy
Photograph NYC 2010, part of my ongoing Skyline project using a 1949 6×9 folding bellows camera.

This review is going to be a little bit different to the ones that have gone before, as March was dominated by mine and Emma’s (my project assistant) final preparations for my long-anticipated expedition to the US.

Fotofest 2010

Photographer Showdown
Put 200 photographers in a room together and this is bound to happen when you let them out…

After considering the advice given to me by professional photographers and curators from the UK, I decided that my first ever photographic portfolio review would be in Texas… at fotofest 2010 – a four week long giddy cowboy photo fun and networking event and also an internationally renowned fine art photographic portfolio review with curators and artists from over 20 countries.

Silhouette Image from Fotofest, Houston
A moment with my fellow delegates at one of the many photographic gallery spaces in Houston.

During my eight days at fotofest I had a fantastic opportunity to meet with artists from across the world in a creative and social setting as well as many face to face meetings with curators, publishers and collectors.

Giddy Cowboy fun at fotofest
Me with Jessamyn and Joanne at the fotofest hoedown, after the hard work of art launches is done.

This was an opportunity for me to introduce institutions and curators to work such as Place in Place and Invisible Conversations. In preparation for my portfolio review at fotofest, I edited several photographic projects then had them produced as a set of artist proofs. 20 x 24” Archive prints on photo rag paper, printed by Rob Knight.

New York

After spending a week in a city where no one walks and the architecture constantly reminds you of the film Logan’s Run (Houston) it was time for me to pack my bags and head off to the city that tough shoes were invented for, New York City.

New York at Night
This fantastic and familiar NY view was captured from the centre of Brooklyn Bridge at night.

Being in New York is always a fantastic opportunity to meet up with curators, old friends and hopefully see some fantastic art. This trip was no exception, with the exhibition highlight being Marina Abramovic’s retrospective at MoMA – The Artist is Present. This trip also gave me the chance to meet up with environmental artist Eve Mosher, architectural artist Bettina Johae and digital artist Will Pappenheimer. I also had the first opportunity to visit the Klompching Gallery run by my good friends Debra and Darren.

February Review

February 3rd: 7000 Oaks

Accompanied by my mentee Larna Campbell, we took the opportunity to see the legacy of Joseph Beuys in action: the planting of an oak tree by members of Free International University, Amsterdam in York as part of Crunchtime 2010

FIU Oak Tree-York

From left to right: Waldo Bien, U.We.Claus and Sebastiaan Bien from the Free International University. Copyright Benedict Phillips

During the tree planting ceremony I took the opportunity to bury a copy of my vacuum-packed photographic book work underneath the oak tree. This seems like a fitting opportunity to reveal the secret ongoing project: “Backfill” a Book for loozing in the street….

John Oxley has taken the opportunity to deposit a copy of “a book for loosing in the street” into the backfill of  a number of archaeological trenches excavated in the City of York between 2001 and 2008.  John placed the copy of the book in the spoil heap where he knew the material would be used to backfill the archaeological trench.  Sites chosen include the former NCP Car-park site Skeldergate, 11 Walmgate, and the former York College for Girls site Low Petergate. Watch this space for a google map of the sites….

February 17th: ‘Actions and Objects’

‘Actions and Objects’ is the title of the talk I gave as part of a series of Art Theory lectures at the Loft in Wakefield, in which I revealed the ongoing impact of the work and lives of Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Beuys in my art.

A and O

Copyright Benedict Phillips with thanks to Victoria Lucas

I asked the artist and curator, Victoria Lucas, if she would write a few words in response. This is what she had to say:

Benedict Phillips delivered a talk at the Loft Studios this week, illustrating the impact that both Joseph Beuys and Marcel Duchamp have had on his own art practice. Whilst embracing the incredibly playful nature of art, and the extraordinary characteristics of being an artist, Benedict popped open a bottle or two of bubbly and stated that ‘art is about making decisions’.

Highlights include the delivery of anecdotes surrounding Benedict’s grandad and his anarchistic traits, which were so altenative even the anarchists disapproved. A delightful series of images documenting poetic, beautifully crafted and conceptually profound sculptural works were also presented.