Sophy Rickett

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Sophy Rickett (born in London 22 September 1970) is a visual artist, working with photography and video/sound installation.


Between 1990 and 1993, Rickett studied for a BA (Hons) in Photography at London College of Communication, London.[1] Rickett’s work came to prominence in the late 1990s, following her graduation from The Royal College of Art, London in the Summer of 1999.

One of her earliest works, Vauxhall Bridge, depicted Rickett urinating standing up while attired in expensive feminine clothes, against the backdrop of Terry Farrell's iconic SIS building at Vauxhall Cross.[1] It was reviewed in Creative Camera magazine in 1996. Some people saw the "Pissing Women" series as a satire of male behavior, though many did not know the women were genuinely urinating. Sophy Rickett stated in the interview "this was something I did," and the photographs were not manipulated.[2]

Visual practice[edit]

Rickett's work explores the competing forces of light and darkness in defining and articulating space, often using photography as a way of exploring the distinction between seeing and looking.[3] She is interested in the tension between the abstract possibilities and narrative tendencies of photography and film/video. Made mainly at night, and often in peripheral or mundane environments, her work ponders the potential of photography to conceal as much as reveal. In both colour and black and white, her photographs cohere around strong formal properties, and are often minimal in character, playing on the latent narrative possibilities of place.[3]

To The River[edit]

To The River (2011) is a video installation with 12 channels of sound. Filmed during the spring equinox of 2010 on the bank of the River Severn, To The River depicts a small crowd of people gathered to wait for the Severn Bore to pass.

To The River was commissioned by Elena Hill in partnership with Arnolfini and ArtSway. The project received funding from ACE, AHRC, Wonderbox and University of the Arts, London. The publication To The River was published by Arnolfini and Brancolini Grimaldi, London.[4]


Solo shows include Ffotogallery, Cardiff; De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea; Alberto Peola, Turin, Italy; Nichido Contemporary Art Tokyo, Japan; Centre pour L’image Contemporain Saint-Gervais, Switzerland and Emily Tsingou, London.[5]

Selected group exhibitions include: New Photography in Britain, Galleria Civica, Modena, Italy; Les Peintres de la Vie Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Fotografierte Landschaften, Museum der bildenden Künste, Leipzig, Germany; Night, Royal West of England Academy, Bath, UK; Order and Chaos, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland, and Where are We?, Victoria & Albert Museum, London.[5]

In 2002, she was awarded the Arts Council of England Helen Chadwick Fellowship which was co-hosted by Ruskin School, Oxford UK and the British School at Rome, Italy.[3]

In 2007, having been commissioned by Photoworks and Glyndebourne Opera, she produced her first major film installation Auditorium, in collaboration with the composer Ed Hughes.[6]

Rickett’s work is included in the following collections: Pompidou, Paris, France; Government Art Collection, UK; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, Nantes, France; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK.[3]

Commissions include Mont Blanc and BMW. Published monographs include Photoworks/Steidl in 2005 and Emily Tsingou Gallery in 2001.[1] She lives and works in London.

Publications and catalogues[edit]

2012 – To The River, Sophy Rickett Arnolfini, Bristol/ Brancolini Grimaldi London ISBN 9780-907738-99-2

2011 – Auditorium, (ed. John Gill, David Chandler) Photoworks, Brighton ISBN 978-1-903796-23-8

2008 – New British Photography, Skira, Italy

2006 – Vitamin PH, Phaidon, London ISBN 0-7148-4656-2

Les Peintres de la Vie Moderne, Editions du Centre Pompidou, Paris ISBN 2-84426-316-X

2005 – Sophy Rickett (Monograph), Steidl / Photoworks ISBN 3-86521-088-0

2003 – ed. Urs Stahel, Order & Chaos, Fotomuseum Winterthur/Christoph Merian Verlag

2001 – Kate Bush, The Fantastic Recurrence of Certain Situations, Communidad de Madrid, Spain

ed. by Graham Gussin and Ele Carpenter, Nothing, August and Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, UK

Photographs, Emily Tsingou Gallery, London

1999 – F.Bonami, Common People: Arte Inglese tra Fenomeno e Realtà, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudenco per l’Arte, Italy

Jardin de Eros, Institut de Cultura de Barcelona, Spain

1998 – New Contemporaries 98, New Contemporaries Ltd, UK

Remix, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, France

On the Bright side of Life, Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst (NGBK), Berlin, Germany

1997 – Public Relations-New British Photography, Cantz, Germany [7]

Awards and commissions[edit]

2012 – Artist Associate-ship, Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, UK

2010 – Recipient of AHRC Practice Led Research Grant

2009 – Winner of Icona 09, Verona Art Fair, Verona, Italy

2008 – Recipient of Development Grant, Film and Video Umbrella, UK

2003 – Recipient of Mont Blanc Cutting Edge Award to Artists

2002 – Fellowship at St Johns College, Oxford

2002 – Arts Council of England, Helen Chadwick Fellowship, hosted by The British School at Rome / Ruskin School, Oxford

2000 – Fellowship at DCA, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee, UK

1999 – BMW Financial Services Millennium Commission in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK[7]


External links[edit]