Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Mark Wallinger

Born in 1959 in Chigwell, Essex. He studied at Chelsea School of Art (1978-81) and Goldsmith’s College of Art (1893-85).

Wallinger achieved early recognition for his series of paintings offering commentary on social issues such as homelessness and nationalism. Early in the 1990s video became a major feature of his practice through which he continued to explore traditional features of British society like social class and organised religion.

Some of the works have featured the artist himself, such as Angel, (1997) a video played in reverse showing him in the role of a character he called ‘Blind Faith’ walking backwards down an escalator at the Angel underground station repeating five verses from St John’s Gospel. In Prometheus (1999) the same character is filmed sitting in an electric chair singing Ariel’s song from ‘The Tempest’.

He was selected to make a work for the first installation on the Trafalgar Square Fourth Plinth in 1999. Ecce Homo was a modest, undramatic figure representing Christ . Wallinger set out to present an image of an ordinary person who was “a leader of an oppressed people” but who also contrasted with the other sculptured figures in Trafalgar Square representing heroes of Britain’s Imperial past. The work was also shown at the Venice Biennale in 2001.

In 2007 Wallinger was awarded to Turner Prize for his installation State Britain which was a painstaking recreation of Brian Haw’s Parliament Square peace camp – a five-year protest against sanctions and military action directed at Iraq.

King Edward and the Colorado Beetle