Phil Collins

Date posted: February 24, 2012 Back to the exhibition

In his films, photographs, installations and live events Berlin based artist Phil Collins explores the nuances of social relations in various locations and global communities.

Informed by the visual traditions of cinema and television, Phil Collins’ diverse practice is based on close engagement with place and community. A comparison to documentary is recurrently made in regard to Collins’ work, which is instructive more in terms of discrepancies rather than analogies. In counterbalance to the documentary’s claim to ‘objectivity’ and ‘truth’, in Collins’ hands the camera itself acquires a form of subjectivity. It acts as an agent both of emancipation and exploitation, desire and betrayal.

Ranging from a disco-dance marathon and a soap-influenced melodrama, to castings, karaoke sessions and press conferences, Collins’ works often provide a platform for the disregarded and the overlooked. Dissecting the political and aesthetic implications of popular visual formats, they indicate that the meaning of a picture-be it still or moving-resides neither in its form nor its subject-matter, but in the transferences it establishes between the producer, the subject and the viewer.

Collins is based in Berlin and Cologne, where he is a professor of video art at the Kunsthochschule für Medien.

Artes Mundi 5 Exhibition

Phil Collins explores the very essence of what it is to be human, through performance-based and conceptual approaches to video and photography. In free fotolab  Collins offered individuals, in several European cities, free processing and prints from their undeveloped rolls of films, in return for the rights to use their photographs in his installation. The result is a nine-minute slideshow including holiday snaps, weddings, pets and other private moments that offer a glimpse into the lives of strangers.

Collins also exhibited at Chapter. Housed in two old caravans outside Chapter’s entrance, This Unfortunate Thing Between Us (TUTBU) is based on the format of the teleshopping channel, selling a choice of ‘fantasies at promotional prices’. Hosted by a cast of actors from a range of professions including stand up, teleshopping and pornography, it provides an opportunity to face up to our contemporary desires and fears. The live soundtrack is by Gruff Rhys and Y Niwl.

Collins films the meaning of style 2011, marxism today (prologue) 2010, use! value! exchange! 2010 and soy mi madre 2008, were all shown during Chapter’s annual live art festival Experimentica. .

Friday 9 November to Tuesday 4 December saw the characters of TUTBU take over Chapter’s lightbox in a new work commissioned by Chapter as part of Experimentica 2012.  A vast collage was assembled from images to take us behind the scenes and into the world of Collins’ theatrical TV production. Featuring a cast of larger-than-life characters, including Wales’ own pop hero Gruff Rhys.

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