Ian Breakwell

[no title]


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Ian Breakwell 1943–2005
Screenprint on paper
Image: 302 × 210 mm
Purchased 1984

Display caption

This series of screenprints is based
on pages from diaries the artist has
kept since 1965. They include photos, magazine cuttings and drawings as
well as writing.


Breakwell said his diaries record
'the side-events of daily life, by
turns mundane, curious, bleak,
erotic, tender, vicious, cunning, stupid, ambiguous, absurd, as observed by
a personal witness'.


Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

This catalogue entry discusses a group of works; details of the individual work are given at the end of the introductory text.

Ian Breakwell born 1943

P77032 - P77041 Ten Diary Pages 1968-82 1983

Portfolio of ten screenprints each 290 x 210 (11 3/8 x 8 1/4) on machine made paper 342 x 253 (13 1/2 x 10); printed by Mel Clark at Norwich School of Art and published by the Printmaking Department, Norwich School of Art in an edition of 50
Inscribed on the folder ‘Ian Breakwell' and ‘22/50'
Purchased from Anthony Reynolds (Grant-in-Aid) 1984

This entry is based principally on the artist's replies dated 18 January 1988 to questions posed by the compiler. ‘Ten Diary Pages' was made during the period Breakwell spent as artist-in-residence at Norwich School of Art between April and July 1983. The artist has explained that ‘they are all pages from my Diary, which used different formats year by year: only some years (e.g. 1973) used actual commercial diary pages as the ground for the drawing/writing/collage'.

Breakwell has maintained a diary since 1965 which has incorporated cuttings, writings, photographs and drawings (see entries for T03936-T03938). He has employed these diaries in the making of works of art and has also published selected extracts from them. The publication of ‘Ten Diary Pages' represents the first occasion on which he has made limited edition prints from them. Breakwell described the successive images, all of which are silkscreened using a photographic process from the original photocollaged diary pages, as follows: P77032 contains ‘images from magazines: car accident tests, Royal Navy recruiting ad.' and P77033 consists of ‘images from gymnastics and cookery manuals'. P77034 is a ‘rephotographed superimposition of 35mm slide and 16mm film projection of family photo of my 1st birthday party and rear view of my adult head and shoulders.' P77035 represents a ‘photo from a greyhound magazine' accompanied by a text relating an incident in a pub in which the artist is bitten by an Alsatian. P77036 is ‘based on a slide-projection & live-action performance FACE HISTORY' performed by the artist in London and Paris in 1969. P77037 is a ‘rephotographed superimposition of 35mm slide & 16mm film-projection of family photos of me as a baby, young boy, adult, + ink stencil lettering and found printer's plate neg.' P77038 is a ‘superimposition of woman's face/cat's face/my hand, and view from my flat [in Smithfield] window.' P77039 contains ‘images from mannequin catalogue and medical brochure' with a text describing, semi-erotically, the actions of a woman dressing a mannequin. P77040 is a ‘repro of old master painting of Mary with dead Christ' (a detail of ‘Pietà', mid fifteenth century, School of Avignon, repr. Germain Bazin, The Louvre, 1979, p.110 in col.) beneath which is inscribed a description of a visit to the catacombs in which the artist makes erotic observations of his fellow visitors and of an incident on the pavement outside. P77041 is a ‘photo taken from my flat window of incident described in the text', namely a man who stumbles in the snow and gradually becomes unconscious while passers-by ignore him. The image on the front of the folder is ‘based on tear-off desk calendar similar to those used in 120 DAYS and the WALKING MAN DIARY' (see entries for T03936-T03938).

While some of the images have accompanying text in the form of printed inscriptions (see above) others consist solely of images. Breakwell has explained that in making a selection of pages from his diary for this project he wanted ‘to show [the] range of Diary pages over the years, concentrating on visual and visual + text. Text only pages were excluded. [The] final selection [was] made from trial prints of approximately 15 pages.' The colours in each print ‘approximate those of [the] original Diary pages, but changed where necessary for legibility/colour balance as silkscreen prints'.

This entry has been approved by the artist.


Printed inscription ‘06 JUN 1979 | Vienna | 11.30 am.' t.r. of image and text

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.319-20 and 322

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