This exhibition is part of the 2021 Swansea Fringe Festival
Swansea is transformed into a mythical kingdom
TRIGGER/CONTENT WARNING: Explores subjects that maybe distressing including images of hunting, nudity, self-injury, and health issues which may also not be suitable for children. If you have any concerns, please contact the gallery first.
In this new body of work created between lockdowns, Richard Ansett brings his complex photographic practice to Swansea in a self-initiated residency supported by UWTSD Swansea College of Art. Ansett imagines a mythical kingdom existing in a parallel universe to the city and pulls back the wizard’s curtain in this testimony to the artist gaze.
Presenting photography as both art and realist record, Ansett invites us to empathise with the dislocation that drives his unique interpretation of reality and in doing so reflect on our own possibilities. Ansett’s subjects are allegorical beings in this exhibition that invites us in to a facsimile of an alternate reality.
Life is presented as a constant negotiation with a vast, ambivalent universe presenting the attrition of life on our fragile bodies as a more authentic beauty. Survival is celebrated whilst shining a light on the normalisation of brutality that pervades all of contemporary society but especially for those on the margins.
Overall winner of Photographic Art at the 7th Arte Laguna Prize and 1st Prize winner of the Sony World Photography Awards, Richard Ansett is recognised for a relentless passion for the medium as a vital and present art form for the examination of self and society. His practice embraces all work that challenges the reductive narrative of conventional documentation. A mental health advocate, committed to person centred and Gestalt practices and a Samaritan volunteer for 18 years supporting the most vulnerable in society, his work is deeply affected by an empathy founded in realism. He writes, curates, talks, and mentors, collaborating in the production of new work that responds to the realities of peoples. He is a passionate defender of art as an essential medium offering a voice to the voiceless and recognising the enormous value to all being seen and heard.
Exhibitions & Awards
His series exploring the complex mental health of women prisoners and the series exploring a disappearing community in South London, Behind The Brutal Facade, 2020 were both shortlisted for Sony World Photo Awards.
The portrait of an autistic boy in a flower garden from the series Boys in a City Park, Ukraine, 2011 won the Arte Laguna Prize 2013 .
His project Mother and Child, Donbas, Ukraine 2011 exhibited at UNICEF “What is Your Name?”, Arsenal, Kiev 2016 as a metaphor for the trauma of enforced internal dislocation and migration due to conflict.
His portrait of Danel, 9 from series Children of Grenfell taken 6 months after the Grenfell Tower fire was selected as the People’s Choice at the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2018.
Many of his individual portraits have been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery, London.
His portrait of the film director David Lynch was acquired by the Smithsonian, USA and his portrait of film director David Cronenberg was acquired by the National Canadian Library and Archives.
The portrait of the artist Grayson Perry ‘BIRTH’ won first prize at the Sony World Photography Awards 2019
His images have been selected 13 times for the National Portrait Gallery, London portrait prize exhibition.