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 was one of 5 international artists shortlisted for the next Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square, 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.