Richard Billingham

NPG x87373; Richard Billingham by Johnnie Shand Kydd

English photographer and video artist. Billingham graduated from the University of Sunderland in 1994 and in the same year took part in his first group exhibition at the Barbican Art Gallery, London. The series of photographs for which he has become known shows the activities of his family at home. Taken over a period of years beginning in 1990 and initially intended as source material for paintings, these photographs are a stark, painful and often humorous documentation of the emotional, sometimes violent relationship of his parents and brother. They are noted for the extraordinary sympathy with which they explore their subjects and the domestic environment. Both the black-and-white and colour prints are mounted on aluminium, unframed, and untitled, suggesting that they are to be seen as a series rather than as isolated images. The images were published together for the first time in book form in 1996. In the following year he won the Citibank Photography Prize and was included in the exhibitionSensation. Billingham has also produced videos that explore his family life in an equally candid manner, for instance¬†Ray in Bed(1999; London, Anthony Reynolds Gal.), a short video of his father sleeping shot in extreme close-up. The underlying need for closeness and the pain of revelations that such scrutiny can entail are central to Billingham’s project. He lives and works in Stourbridge, West Midlands.

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