Tate Britain talks_lectures

What Makes Us Human: Anxiety

portrait of a man that sits on a stool

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
Coterie Of Questions 2015
Private Collection

Join an artist, a historian and a philosopher to explore representations of anxiety within the visual arts​

In the final session of this three-part series responding to the All Too Human exhibition, an artist, historian and philosopher explore the concept, experience and representation of anxiety, from the personal to the societal, within the visual arts. Speakers include poet and visual artist Heather Phillipson, art historian Caterina Albano and philosopher Aaron James Wendland.

The panel discussion will be chaired by Dr. Sacha Golob from The Centre for Philosophy and the Visual Arts, King's College London.


Caterina Albano

Dr Caterina Albano is a Reader in Visual Culture and Science at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. She is the author of Memory, Forgetting and the Moving Image (Palgrave MacMillan, 2016) and Fear and Art in the Contemporary World (Reaktion Books, 2012), of journal articles and essays on the history of emotion (fear and anxiety), on memory and contemporary art, and curating.

Sacha Golob

Sacha Golob is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at King’s College London and the Director of the Centre for Philosophy and the Visual Arts; before joining King’s, he was a Fellow at Peterhouse, Cambridge. He has published extensively on French and German Philosophy, and the Philosophy of Art. His current research explores contemporary conceptions of virtue and degeneration.

Heather Phillipson

Heather Phillipson works across video, sculpture, music, drawing and text. Her upcoming shows include the Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square in 2020, a major commission for Art on the Underground’s flagship site at Gloucester Road, an online commission for the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and a solo show at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art (all 2018).

Aaron James Wendland

Aaron James Wendland completed his PhD at Somerville College, Oxford, and he is currently Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the HSE's Centre for Advanced Studies in Moscow. Aaron is the co-editor of Wittgenstein and Heidegger (Routledge, 2013) and Heidegger on Technology (Routledge, 2018) as well as the author of several scholarly articles on key figures in the history of philosophy, including: Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, Husserl, and Heidegger.

The Anxiety Seminar

Following the panel discussion there will be a seminar from 15.30–17.30 in the Duffield Room. This two hour seminar explores some of the key philosophical issues raised by anxiety and by artistic treatments of mood and emotion.

The first half examines the core elements of existentialist thought, and its relation to anxiety as a vehicle for self-discovery and ethical change. The second half will look at artistic depictions of emotion more broadly: how can a painted surface express happiness or misery? And who gets to judge whether it succeeds?

The session will provide a concise introduction to the core theme and its significance for philosophy and the arts. We’ll then break into smaller groups for a guided discussion in which participants can explore the ideas and develop their own take on them in relation to the exhibition and to contemporary events.

The seminar will be led by Dr. Sacha Golob, Dr. Emma Syea and Vanessa Brassey from the King's College London, Centre for Philosophy and the Visual Arts. Participants will have the opportunity to contribute to a research article on the relationship between philosophy and their experience of the All Too Human exhibition.

No prior knowledge of the subject or background in philosophy is required.

This event is part of the three-part series: What Makes Us Human: Conversations on Art and Philosophy.

‘Philosophy in the Gallery’ is a collaboration between The Centre for Philosophy and the Visual Arts at King's College London and Tate, supported by the Cultural Institute at King's.

Tate Britain

13.00 talk is in the Clore Auditorium

15.30 seminar is in the Duffield Room

London SW1P 4RG
Plan your visit


2 June 2018 at 14.00–16.00

2 June 2018 at 16.30–18.30