BEN MURPHY

Having worked as assistant art director on the Face magazine with renowned and influential graphic designer Neville Brody, and working with him on major art gallery publicity, album sleeves, band identities and book designs, and subsequently working as an actor and musician, I started to make portraits for magazines, 12 of which are in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery. My first monograph of photographs “The U.N. Building”, was published in 2005 by Thames and Hudson. This is a reflection on the depopulated interior spaces within the United Nations Building in New York. Within the context of this iconic building I was interested in questioning the ways in which our perception of internal space changes over time through external forces. Despite the building remaining largely unaltered, and as such is a reflection on post war optimistic utopian ideologies, the political, physical and geographic landscape outside has changed dramatically.

In 2010 I won an award from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago, USA to make a series about the dwelling spaces of homeless people in America. This work resulted in a solo show titled "Homes of the American Dispossessed" at the Architectural Association Gallery, London 2012. A collection of my portraits is in the National Portrait Gallery,London.

My most recent photographic series concerns neo-nomadic international countercultural identity. The work explores how rejectionist beliefs and ideals are expressed and played out through impermanent makeshift architecture and possessions, to question notions and paradoxes of freedom and dependence.

The work has had a large public audience being exhibited as a solo show at the Architectural Association Gallery, London, in March and April 2017 and widely reviewed and featured in international media (including Jungle Magazine, British Journal of Photography, Observer Magazine, Art World China, Wallpaper*, Riba journal, Disegno, El Pais, LensCulture, among many others). I was a main exhibitor alongside Stephen Shore at the Dong-gang International Photography festival in South Korea in July to October 2017. The work was exhibited as a solo show at De Singel / VLAAMS museum in Antwerp, Belgium, in February/March 2018.

Examples of the work have been exhibited at the Courtauld Gallery and for a year at the V&A museum, London, where they are also in the permanent collections. The work is also represented in the permanent collections of the Archive of Modern Conflict, London and Toronto, and The Architectural Association.

In 2017 a book of the work titled “The Riverbed” was published (Phenomenology, 2017).

In 2015 I was commissioned by the Blenheim Art Foundation to photograph the major exhibition of Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei being held at Blenheim Palace. This became a book of my photographs titled Ai Wei Wei at Blenheim Palace.

I am currently under commission from National Grid to photograph the UKs Gasholders for a national historic archive. This work will also be held in the collections of the Science Museum, London and exhibited nationwide. I work regularly on commissions for product designers such as Michael Anastassiades, as well as for magazines such as Nowness.com, Wallpaper*, The Telegraph Magazine and Vogue Italia. I live in London and work all over the world.


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