9 November 2012

Richard Billingham works in video and in still photography, received early acclaim for a powerful series of photographs of his family, documenting his family home and its inhabitants with great closeness and honesty. These photographs capture the family candidly, beautifying the dull melancholy of the everyday, exacerbating this effect with the use of brashly enhanced colours. See reviews of these works on review sites artnet and source.

Working in the moment rather than to an overarching idea or framework, Richard simply asks: "how can I make a good picture?" and feels he doesn't have much control. He rather creates the work the best he can and then it somehow falls together. This kind of process displays a dedication to the integrity of the subject and form of his artwork that is fascinating to the onlooker, especially as Richard's work particularly seems to shine in its cumulative power. Richard talks more of his process in this short interview.

Billingham's video installation Zoo provides a stark contrast in subject matter, yet strangely hints at similar themes of captivity and sadness that we can also percieve in his work on family. The Age review of his 2007/8 retrospective exhibition at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art draws some insights into ongoing themes in Billingham's work. Perhaps the fact that these are unconsciously derived is more meaningful than a contrived agenda?

See more about Billingham's new short Siberian Tiger, co-commissioned by FACT and Jacqui Davies in association with Arts Council England and tune into Channel 4 at 12.15am tonight to see it broadcast for the first time.