Heather Phillipson

Through collisions of image, noise, objects, language and bodies, Heather Phillipson’s videos and sculptural installations behave as places, musical scores, poems and nervous systems – attending to how physical and affective ‘selves’ are constructed, manipulated and, above all, escape. Often rendered as walk-in conglomerations of readily accessible materials (digital images, paint, cardboard, words, audio loops and reproducible consumer detritus), her works stake out an ambiguous territory in which cultural references and emotional responses are mutually contingent and reactive. Collapsing distinctions between the forthright and the inarticulable, the banal and the ecstatic, and between metaphor and extreme literalisation, Phillipson’s work performs constant tonal shifts, disruptions and bleeds. In so doing, it oscillates between physical intimacies and conceptual distances – desire, sensuality, touching and being touched, shame, anxiety, (over-)exposure, resistant surfaces.

Heather Phillipson works across video, sculpture, drawing, music, text and live events. In 2016, Phillipson has presented solo projects at Whitechapel Gallery London, Images Festival Toronto, Frieze Projects New York and the 32nd Sao Paolo Biennale. She received the Film London Jarman Award 2016 and is one of 5 international artists shortlisted for the next Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square, London.

Recent solo exhibitions include: Schirn Frankfurt; the Istanbul Biennial; Performa New York; Sheffield Doc/Fest (with Serpentine Galleries); Opening Times (otdac.org); Bunker259, New York; Dundee Contemporary Arts; Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool; BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead; and a video commission for Random Acts, Channel 4 television. Recent events include: Assembly, Tate Britain; the flavour of cooling enormities, Serpentine Gallery; Nuovo Monde, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, and BOG-STANDARD REFRESHER, a live music event at the ICA, London. 

Phillipson is also an award-winning poet and has published three collections of poetry: a pamphlet with Faber & Faber in 2009; NOT AN ESSAY (Penned in the Margins, 2012); and Instant-flex 718 (Bloodaxe, 2013), which was shortlisted for the 2013 Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize. She was named a Next Generation Poet in 2014 and was Writer in Residence at the Whitechapel Gallery in 2015. Her work is held in a number of public and private collections.



Art on the Underground, Gloucester Road Station commission, London, UK 

Artist in Residence, Drawing Room, London. UK 

Random Acts, Channel 4 television, UK 


Screen Series, New Museum, New York, USA

32nd Bienial de Sao Paulo, Brazil

more flinching, Whitechapel Gallery, London

Frieze Projects New York, USA

sub-fusc love-feast, Images Festival / Trinity Square Video, Toronto, Canada

TRUE TO SIZE, Plymouth Arts Centre / Arts Council Collection 70th Anniversary Commission, UK


EAT HERE, Heather Phillipson, Schirn, Frankfurt, Germany

UN/FIT 4 FEELING 2015, Heather Phillipson, Istanbul Biennial, Turkey

FINAL DAYS, Heather Phillipson, solo installation, Performa, New York, USA

FINAL DAYS, solo installation, Sheffield Doc/Fest with Serpentine Galleries, UK 

SERIOUS TRACTION, online commission, Opening Times, serioustraction.otdac.org 

love, the clickwrap writers, audio commission, The Verb, BBC Radio 3, UK

the nylon tricot hi-cut one-piece, event, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK

THIS WAY UP, online comission, Desktop Residency, UK


Extinction Marathon, stage installation, Serpentine Gallery, London, UK

sub-fusc love-feast, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee, UK

the flavour of cooling enormities, Park Nights, event, Serpentine Gallery, London, UK

immediately and for a short time balloons weapons too-tight clothing worries of all kinds, Bunker259, New York, USA

Assembly, event, Tate Britain, London, UK


yes, surprising is existence in the post-vegetal cosmorama –, Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, UK

THE ORIGINAL EROGENOUS ZONE, Art Brussels (with Rowing Projects), Belgium*


Splashy Phasings, Random Acts, Channel 4 television, UK

yes, surprising is life in the post-vegetal cosmorama – , BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle, UK 

A to D: the lot, FLUX Projects, Flux Nights, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

through the flesh-tone scenario, the imported combi-boudoir, Zabludowicz Collection, London, UK

immediately and for a short time balloons weapons too-tight clothing worries of all kinds, LOOP video fair, with Rowing Projects, LOOP, Barcelona [awarded the LOOP gallery prize, 2013]



Fourth Plinth shortlist, National Gallery, London (19 January - 27 March 2017)

Commercial Break, Public Art Fund, Times Square, New York (6 Feb - 5 March 2017)

Drawing Biennial, Drawing Room, London (2 March - 26 April 2017)

Colori, Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy (14 March - 23 July 2017)


Temporary Highs, screening, Bitforms Gallery, New York, USA

Cycle Festival of Music & Art, Kopavogur, Iceland

Borealis Contemporary Music Festival, Norway 

Notes on Gesture - I, II, III, Siobhan Davis Dance Studio, London, UK

The Practice of Theories, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge, UK

Bonington Film Night #3, Bonington Gallery, Nottingham, UK

Body Work, screening, EVBG, Berlin, Germany

EDIE, screening, Bordeaux, France

Wavepool Gallery, screening, Cincinnati, Ohio 

New Feelings (Capital, Desire, Bodies, Epilogue), Opening Times for Material Art Fair, Mexico 


20 Years, Zabludowicz Collection, London, UK

Speaking Parts, Raven Row, London, UK

Biennial of Moving Images, MONA, Australia

Biennial of Moving Images, OCAT OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shanghai, China 

Black Box Festival, Aktionsart, Seattle, USA

Open Source festival, London, UK

Let the Brittle Bits, MilMa, London, UK

Ffoam, Grand Union, Birmingham, UK

Love after Materialism, Trinity Square Video, Toronto, Canada 

Art Icon auction, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK

Natural Beginners, Nuvolari, Paris, France

The Originals, Galerie Tatjana Pieters, Ghent

Jeune Prédation, Galerie Jeune Creation, Paris, France

Things: A century of works purchased with the Contemporary Art Society, Grundy Gallery, Blackpool, UK



Assembly, event, Tate Britain, London, UK

Biennial of Moving Images, Geneva, Switzerland

Nouveau Monde, event, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France

PaddlesON!, Philllips Auction House, London, UK

TTTT, Jerwood Space, London, UK

TodaysArt, The Hague, Netherlands

Silicon Valley Contemporary, Los Angeles, USA

How Can You Relate?, LUX AAP project, event, The Showroom, London, UK

Screen Salon, KinoKino, Norway

#nostalgia, CCA, Glasgow, UK


Sturtevant Study Day, Serpentine Gallery, London, UK

The forgotten memory guide V/IX, Kunsthalle Münster, Münster, Germany

4Days, event, Arnolfini, Bristol, UK

Filmic Expansions, Cafe Curio, event, Camden Arts Centre, London, UK

LOCO Film Festival, BFI Southbank, London, UK

PLAY, festival/event, La Casa Encendida, Madrid, Spain

PAMI Festival, various venues, London, UK

MOVE, Bold Tendencies, London, UK

As real as going to the grocery store, Rowing Projects, London, UK

ha!ah!, The Windows Project, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

FRESH TRAUMA, Ceri Hand, London, UK

Cough+Sniff FM, radio broadcast (http://www.th3rdspace.net/cough.html), Fogo Island, Canada

Verging on the Absurd, Contemporary Art Society, London, UK

Last Friday shorts, screening, TAP, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, UK

WE OBJECT!, Aid & Abet, Cambridge, UK

The Fruit Machine, opera with Edwin Burdis, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge, UK



Bleurgh, CIRCA, Newcastle, UK*

EYE MUSIC FOR DANCING (with Anna Barham, Bob Cobbing and Julika Gittner, curated by Bridget Crone), Flat Time House, London, UK

PRESSURIZATION (Heather Phillipson, featuring Edwin Burdis), Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK*

And If It Was It Can’t Be Is, Rowing Projects/Wysing Arts Centre, UK

Megadairypigfarm - Edwin Burdis and Heather Phillipson, Max Wigram Gallery, London, UK

Stone of Folly (with Holly Antrum, Benedict Drew, Mike Cooter, Katie Cudden, Martin Newth, Francesco Pedraglio and Tom Woolner, curated by Will Cobbing), Down Stairs Gallery, Hereford, UK

SWITCH (curated by Phyllida Barlow), Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle, UK

Writtle Calling: a radio show (devised by Melissa Appleton, with Edwin Burdis, Pablo Bronstein, Mark Leckey, David Toop, Johnny Trunk + others), live from Essex, UK and on 87.7FM / www.writtlecalling.co.uk (11 - 18 September 2012, live broadcast Saturday 15th September, 6.30-11pm)

London Open, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK

Remote Control (with Auto Italia), ICA, London, UK

The Dan Cox Library for the Unfinished Concept of Thingly Time, Cubitt, London, UK

Performance as Publishing, Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland

A Is to D What E Is to H, Galeri Caernarfon, Wales, UK* 

f/ocal length, Oriel Sycharth, Wrexham, UK

LUX Associate Artists Programme 2011-12


Seeing in the Dark (with Kevin Atherton, Benedict Drew, Rhodri Davies, Hilary Koob-Sassen, Lynn Loo, Guy Sherwin, Peter Todd) exhibition and live event at CIRCA, Newcastle, UK

Pool: An Observer’s Guide to the Garden Marathon (with Will Holder), Serpentine Gallery, London, UK

Auto Italia Live: TV Project (with Andrew Kerton, Eddie Peake and Francesco Pedraglio), Auto Italia South-East, London, UK

Notes from Sensible Theatres (Beatrice Gibson, Mikko Canini,  Annabel Frearson, Clare Gasson, Claire Hooper,  Pil and Galia Kollectiv, Gail Pickering, Tai Shani), Spike Island, Bristol, UK

Hackney Film Festival in association with LUX, collaborative performance at Café Oto, London, UK

Heather Phillipson: Why Try to Describe It, screening/performance, Vitrine Gallery, London, UK *

New Hope for the Dead, Bold Tendencies, London, UK

Voice Recorder, online sound exhibition/Voice Studies (with Jarvis Cocker, William Furlong, Liam Gillick, David Blamey & Craig Richards, Michael Horovitz), MK Gallery / StudioMusicFM

Publishing as Performance (with Fiona Banner, Nicole Bachmann, Ruth Beale, Daniel Gustav Cramer, Emma Kay, Jenny Moore and Francesco Pedraglio), South London Gallery, UK

LUX touring programme: What It Is Not: New Work UK (curated by Gil Leung, featuring Ed Atkins, David Raymond Conroy, Mark Leckey, Laure Prouvost, James Richards and Mark Aerial Waller) performance at Eastside Projects, Birmingham, UK

The Stage Has Eyes (curated by Edwin Burdis, with Ed Atkins, Andy Holden, Bonnie Camplin, Mark Leckey), ShortWave Cinema/Vitrine Gallery, London, UK

Portmanteau (with g39), Halle 14, Leipzig, Germany

A Dying Artist (curated by Ed Atkins and Siôn Parkinson), performance, ICA, London, UK

Versuch: Notes and Projects (curated by Gil Leung), Hollybush Gardens, London, UK

Drawing and the Body, KG52 Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden

3 (with Vicki Kerr and Michelle Sank), Aberystwyth Arts Centre, UK

BRUDERKRIEGSOUNDSYSTEM (with Edwin Burdis, Bonnie Camplin, Steve Claydon, Andy Holden, Mark Leckey, Kieron Livingston), performance at the ICA, London, UK

2008-10   (SELECTED EXHIBITIONS)       

If…, g39, Cardiff, UK *

London Short Film Festival, ICA, London, UK

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (curated by Florence Ostende, with Sam Curtis, CutUp Collective,Michelle Deignan, Katie Davies, Ben Judd, Claire Hope, Laure Prouvost), Mains d’Oeuvres, Paris, France

PoetryFilm, Curzon Renoir cinema, London, UK

Jerwood Drawing Prize, Jerwood Space, London, and touring, UK

Something is Bound to Happen, Glynn Vivian Gallery, Wales, UK*

Formal Incidents, Fashion Space Gallery, London, UK *

Bloomberg New ContemporariesA-Foundation, Liverpool; Rochelle School,London, UK

Wolstenholme Screenings(screening with Wolfgang Tillmans and others), Liverpool Biennial, UK

Implant Redux, Horticultural Society of New York, New York, USA

Fingerlakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF), New York, USA

Salon (curated by Mark Aerial Waller and Luke Fowler)S1 Artspace, Sheffield, UK


Bonn University (Germany), British Film Institute, Curzon Renoir Cinema, Durham Literature Festival, Faber Academy, King’s Place, Latitude Festival, Manchester Literature Festival, Octagon Theatre, Oxford University, Poetry Cafe, Rough Trade, Southbank Centre, Troubadour Cafe, Whitechapel Gallery


EXHIBITIONS   *denotes solo show

Screen Series, New Museum, New York (2nd December - 12 February 2017)*

Fourth Plinth shortlist exhibition, National Gallery, London (19 January - 27 Marc 2017)

Commercial Break, Public Art Fund, Times Square, New York (6 Feb - 5 March 2017)

Drawing Biennial, Drawing Room, London (2 March - 26 April 2017)

Colori, Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy (14 March - 23 July 2017)

Artist in Residence, Drawing Room, London (March - July 2017)

Random Acts, Channel 4 television (November 2017)

Art on the Underground, Gloucester Road Station commission, London (autumn/winter 2017)*


Masterclass / Artist’s talk, Zabludowicz Collection, London, 1 February 2017

Orientations, Locate & Reshape, Visual Cultures Lecture Series, with Eddie Peake and Anthea Hamilton, Royal College of Art, 7 February 2017




Martin Herbert: CARDIAC UNREST, the work of Heather Phillipson, Artforum, February 2017: https://www.artforum.com/inprint/id=66063

Adrian Searle, Plinth perfect: the five contenders for the fourth Trafalgar hotspotThe Guardian, 19 January 2017: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/jan/19/plinth-perfect-the-five-contenders-for-the-fourth-trafalgar-spot

Adrian Searle, Jarman Winner Heather Phillipson…The Guardian, 26 November 2016: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/nov/28/heather-phillipson-jarman-award-video-art-poetry

Frieze Art Fair 2016 - In PicturesThe Guardian, 5 May 2016: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2016/may/05/frieze-art-fair-new-york-2016-in-pictures

Nadja Sayej, At Frieze Projects, a Corporeal Rumination on the Art Fair’s Nervous SystemArtslant.com, 6 May 2016: http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/45779

Alex Greenberger, Heather Phillipson dots Frieze with dogs, trampolines, digital technologyArtNews.com, 5 May 2016: http://www.artnews.com/2016/05/05/heather-phillipson-dots-frieze-with-dogs-trampolines-digital-technology/?platform=hootsuite

Rachel Corbett, Q&A with Heather Phillipson on her Frieze Projectblouinartinfo.com, 5 May 2016: http://www.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/1388705/qa-heather-phillipson-on-her-project-for-frieze-new-york


Ben Eastham, The Woman Bridging the Divide between Art and Poetry, Heather Phillipson profile, New York Times, 13 February 2016: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/11/t-magazine/art/heather-phillipson-british-artist.html

Olivia Parkes, The Artist Creating a Walkway through the Digital WorldBroadly, Vice, February 2016: https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/the-artist-creating-a-walkway-through-the-digital-world

James Bridle, Between Worlds: Labyrinthine associations and elastic meaning in the work of Heather Phillipson, feature, Frieze, January-February 2016: https://www.frieze.com/article/between-worlds

Martha Lane Fox, Artsnight, BBC2 television, 24 July 2015: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b063k1ff

Chris Fite-Wassilak, Now Wash Your HandsArt Review, Summer 2015: http://artreview.com/magazine/2015/summer_2015//

Elina Suoyrjo, The Mess of Getting Into It, interview with Heather Phillipson, n.paradoxa, issue 36, July 2015: http://www.ktpress.co.uk/nparadoxa-volume-details.asp?volumeid=36

Nathan Budzinski, Heather PhillipsonThe Wire, January 2015, issue 372: http://www.thewire.co.uk/issues/372

Daisy Lafarge, sub-fusc love-feast, Dundee Contemporary Arts, review, Aesthetica, September 2014: http://www.aestheticamagazine.com/blog/review-heather-phillipson-sub-fusc-love-feast-dundee-contemporary-arts/

Moira Jeffrey,  Heather Phillipson - Art: the Nature of Us, The ScotsmanSeptember 13 2014

Neil Cooper, Heather Phillipson: sub-fusc love-feastThe List, 16 September 2014: http://www.list.co.uk/article/64703-heather-phillipson-sub-fusc-love-feast/

Robert Flood, Next Generation PoetsGuardian Review, 13 September 2014

Alison Flood, Next Generation PoetsThe Guardian, 11 September 2014: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/sep/11/next-generation-20-poets-poetry-book-society-kate-tempest

Linsday Howard, Artist Profile, interview with Heather Phillipson, Rhizome, July 2014: http://rhizome.org/editorial/2014/jul/29/artist-profile-heather-phillipson/?ref=fp_post_title

Dai George, The New Wave of Sad Pizzazz: Three British PoetsBoston Review, June 2014: http://www.bostonreview.net/blog/dai-george-sad-pizzazz-three-british-poets

Laura McLean Ferris, Use Impatiences, interview with Heather Phillipson, Mousse, #42, February 2014: http://moussemagazine.it/issue.mm

Adrian Searle, Top 10 Art Shows of 2013, The Guardian, 18 December 2013: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/dec/18/adrian-searle-top-10-art-shows-2013

Joe Dunthorne, The Observer’s Books of the YearThe Observer, 24 November 2013: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/nov/24/writers-books-of-year-2013-observer

Carol Rumens, Archangels and Giants, review, Poetry Review, Volume 103:3, Autumn 2013: http://www.poetrysociety.org.uk/content/publications/review/pr1033/

Sam Buchan-Watts, Borders Become Flexi-Permeable, interview with Heather Phillipson, The Quietus, 3 November 2013: http://thequietus.com/articles/13755-heather-phillipson-interview-not-an-essay

Carrie Etter, Instant-flex 718 by Heather Phillipson, review, The Guardian, 13 September 2013: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/sep/13/instant-flex-718-heather-phillipson-review

W N Herbert, Applauded and Lauded, review, Poetry London, Autumn 2013: http://poetrylondon.co.uk/magazine/autumn-13

Abi Bliss, On Site (BALTIC exhibition review), The Wire, issue 356 / October 2013: http://thewire.co.uk/archive/issues/356

Moira Jeffrey, Exhibition Review: Heather PhillipsonThe Scotsman, 11 October 2013: http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/arts/visual-arts/exhibition-reviews-william-kentridge-heather-phillipson-1-3128197

Priya Elan, pick up Instant-flex 718Grazia, 29 July 2013

Chris Emslie, Instant-flex 718 review, Edinburgh Review, issue 146, summer 2013

Iris Priest, Love, Language and Contagious DiseasesGarageland, 26 July 2013: http://garagelandmagazine.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/love-language-and-contagious-diseases.html

Adrian Searle, Weird journeys with Heather Phillipson on the Tyne’s wild side,        The Guardian, 27 June 2013:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2013/jun/27/heather-phillipson-baltic-adrian-searle

Laura McLean Ferris, Mess, She Said, Mousse, Summer 2013

Stuart Hammond, Instant-flex 718, review, Dazed & Confused, July 2013

Maria Crawford, Summer books guide, Financial Times, June 28 2013: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/b995a37e-df5c-11e2-881f-00144feab7de.html#axzz2Y5D08EwW

Gemma Winter, Heather Phillipson: BALTIC, review, KCTV,  June 2013: http://www.kctv.co.uk/happening_show_article.php?article=2813

Carol Rumens, Poem of the Week: Heather PhillipsonThe Guardian, May 2013: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/may/07/poem-week-relational-epistemology-heather-phillipson

Lytton Smith, Instant-flex 718, review, Los Angeles Review of Books, May 2013: http://lareviewofbooks.org/article.php?id=1681

Oliver Basciano, NOT AN ESSAY / Instant-flex 718, review, Art Review, April 2013: http://artreview.com/reviews/heather_phillipson_not_an_essay_and_instant-flex_718/

Jonathan Gibbs, Book Design blog: Instant-flex 718The Independent, April 2013: http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2013/04/19/friday-book-design-blog-instant-flex-718-by-heather-phillipson/

Helen Sumpter, Future Greats, Art Review, March 2013: http://artreview.com/previews/66_future_greats_heather_phillipson/

Leslie Kulesh, Heather Phillipson on her new book and how the internet delivers it, interview, Bullett, January 2013: http://bullettmedia.com/article/meta-on-meta-not-an-essay-heather-phillipson-talks-to-leslie-kulesh-about-her-new-book-of-poetry-and-how-the-internet-delivers-it/

Gina Buenfeld, EYE MUSIC FOR DANCING, thisistomorrow, November 2012: http://www.thisistomorrow.info/viewArticle.aspx?artId=1550

Shama Khanna, SWITCH: BALTIC 39Frieze, July 2012

Is East London Dead?, Dazed & Confused, April 2012

Maksymilian Fus Mickiewicz, Heather Phillipson: Why Try to Describe It, interview, Dazed Digital, September 2011: http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/11249/1/heather-phillipson-why-try-to-describe-it

Heather Phillipson, articles for ArtReview magazine


Heather Phillipson, poet’s page, Poetry Archive:



more flinching 

first published on occasion of solo exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2016

subsequently published in Poetry magazine, June 2016

from more flinching



Next Generation Poets 2014: http://nextgenerationpoets.com/heather-phillipson-2/


Heather Phillipson, British Council literature: https://literature.britishcouncil.org/writer/heather-phillipson


Heather Phillipson, author page, Penned in the Margins:



Heather Phillipson, author page, Bloodaxe Books:


In 2020 the plinth will be given over to Heather Phillipson’s giant swirl of whipped cream, adorned precariously with a red cherry, a fly and a flashing drone, which will contain a camera surveilling Trafalgar Square 24 hours a day.

Phillipson said she was overwhelmed to be able to display work in such a “social and politicised context”, and said her sculpture reflected the congregational and celebratory aspect of Trafalgar Square as well as its political importance as a gathering spot for protest. 

The flashing drone will be equipped with wifi that passersby can log into to see the drone’s view over Trafalgar Square on their phones. Phillipson said the drone element was a comment on how we had come to accept a surveillance society.

“I think my work exists somewhere in the realm of exuberant unease, so this is apparently very celebratory at first glance but the more time you spend time with it, other elements will start to creep in,” she said. “The plinth becomes a monument to hubris and impending collapse.”