Breakwell, Ian

Born Derby, 1943 and studied at Derby College of Art and the West of England College, Bristol. Died October 2005.

From his early performances in the 1960s Breakwell worked in a diverse range of media, from painting to film, video, performance and installation. He exhibited widely and his paintings are in public and private collections including Tate Gallery, Contemporary Art Society, Victoria and Albert Museum; Museum of Modern Art, New York and Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia. Screenings include: World Wide Video Festival, The Hague; Videonale, Bonn; National Video Festival, Los Angeles.

He produced films for television broadcast with Anna Ridley and her production company Annalogue, and is well known for his writing, which includes: ‘Ian Breakwell’s Diary’ 1964-85 Pluto Press 1986; collected illustrated fiction ‘The Artist’s Dream Serpent’s Tail’ 1988 and ‘Free Range’ published by Victoria and Albert Museum 1993.

“Breakwell was a prolific artist, working with different media including drawing, film, video, photography, installation, slide projection, sound, and words. His Diaries made in collaboration with Anna Ridley, commissioned by Channel Four and broadcast in 1984, were observations of the ‘side events of daily life’; the Diaries were published as a book in 1986, and serialised on Radio 3 in 1990. ‘The fact that painting had a thousand year old pedigree and video had none didn’t mean a thing. It was just another means of making things. It didn’t necessarily even have to be visual. A telephone could be used for making art, radio certainly could. It was just another available tool.’ (from the REWIND Interview with Ian Breakwell)” – J Hatfield

Fellowship at King’s College and Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge 1980-81; John Brinkley Fellowship at the Norwich School of Art 1982-83; Artist in Residence, Tyne Tees Television 1985; Artist in Residence, Durham Cathedral, 1994-95; AHRB Fellowship in the Creative and Performing Arts at the School of Art,
Central St. Martins College of Art & Design, London

He is represented by the Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London.

updated April 2022

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