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Paul Coldwell is Professor of Fine Art at the University of the Arts London. As an artist, his practice includes prints, book works, sculptures and installations, focusing on themes of journey, absence, and loss. Much of his work has taken collections as starting points for research and realisation, including Temporarily Accessioned Freud Museum and Picturing the invisible at the Sir John Soane Museum. He has exhibited widely both in UK and abroad and his work is included in numerous public collections, including Tate, V&A, British Museum, the Arts Council of England, Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva and MoMA (New York). Recent solo exhibitions include A Still Life –In conversation with Gorgio Morandi at the Estorick Collection, London 2021  and  Natura Morta and other works, at the Italian Cultural Institute London, 2023.  


His book Printmaking; A Contemporary Perspective was published by Black Dog Publishing in 2010 and Picturing the Invisible, co-edited with Professor Ruth Morgan was published by UCL Press in Jan 2022.  


A selection of his sculptures and poems A Still Life were published by the Estorick Collection in 2021.


For the Onboards Biennale I wanted to make a picture of an interior to be seen outside. We generally think of going inside to see images of the outside world, this is a gentle reversal. I also wanted the viewer to feel as if they could walk into the picture and take a seat. The invitation to take a seat is one from a host to a guest. It’s also carries with it an invitation to engage.  

The picture is a fabrication, composed from photographs I took of models that I had made in the studio during lockdown, (the chair for example is only 15cms high). I wanted to create a picture that at first glance seems ok, but gradually assumes an air of the uncanny or of unease.  The photo frame for example being out of out of proportion to the chairs. Hovering above and embedded into the half tine dot is a line drawing of a polyhedron, a reference to Durer’s print Melancholia which I thought about constantly during lockdown.    

Overall the picture is concerned with absences waiting to be filled.



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