Liam Gillick born 1964

Artist biography

English conceptual artist. He studied at Hertfordshire College of Art (1983–4) and Goldsmiths College, London (1984–7). Gillick characterised his early work as ‘displacement activity', a method of working that was parallel to certain professional methods but that opened their processes to question. His first exhibition (London, Karsten Schubert Gal., 1989) demonstrated this device in relation to architecture: using a computer programme, Gillick produced a series of drawings for buildings that were deliberately faulty or unworkable as architecture. In the early 1990s he launched a similar project with photographer Henry Bond (b. 1966) in which they operated as a news team in order to examine the procedures behind news-gathering; the result became the series Documents (1991). Following these works, Gillick began to produce art in the form of scripts and text-based proposals, sometimes in book form. In these Gillick considered the utopian possibilities of the near future, the benefits of hindsight and notions of being at the centre of power and action. Many of these works were developed into a series of exhibited objects. He is probably best known for his multi-coloured, translucent screens and platforms, which appear to operate as metaphors for places of discussion and negotiation. Big Conference Centre Limitation Screen (1998; see 1999–2000 exh. cat., p. 88) is typical in its contruction from an aluminium grid subdivided into coloured plexiglass panels. Gillick sees his work as related to a conceptualist tradition which presents art as an activity for communication and exchange.

Liam Gillick: McNamara Papers, Erasmus and Ibuka! Realisations, The What If? Scenarios (exh. cat., Dijon, Le Consortium; Hamburg, Kstver.; 1997)
Liam Gillick (exh. cat., essays S. Gaensheimer and M. Archer, Frankfurt am Main, Kstver.; Münster, Westfäl. Kunstverein; Bristol, Arnolfini Gal., 1999–2000)

10 December 2000

Article provided by Grove Art Online