Stephen Gill – A Retrospective
Coming Up for Air. 1982–2021
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Coinciding with Arnolfini’s major autumn exhibition »Coming up for Air: Stephen Gill – A Retrospective« (16 October 2021 to 16 January 2022), this enthralling publication encompasses over 40 years of practice (from 1982 to 2021), featuring some of Gill’s first photographs (taken as a child), and selected images from Gill’s best-known series, such as the award winning »The Pillar«, »Talking to Ants« and »Hackney Flowers«, alongside lesser-known collections, »Invisible«, »Russian Women Smokers« and »Audio Portraits«, and early images of Bristol, where Gill was born.
Published by Gill’s Nobody Books in association with Arnolfini, the book includes a text from Arnolfini’s Director and self-confessed fan, Gary Topp, who reflects back on the fascinating process of working with Gill – underlining his abundant output showcased here across 604 pages – offering an absorbing insight into the artist’s working practice:
“A retrospective exhibition, and this accompanying book, is a very powerful tool to unleash on the psychology of an artist, (and his colleagues at the host institution!) and the responsibility we all take to share this in the public arena (a civic responsibility) with the hope of allowing many more people to enter into their own encounters with the work and his dynamic career path. When the artist is as prolific, ostensibly shapeshifting, and as determined as Stephen it can be an unsettling space for the viewer to try and find a route into the work and to begin to peel back the edges of his magic.”
Bringing together an exhaustive array of photography and technical approaches, including over 450 colour and 150 black and white plates, Coming up for Air… creates an invaluable journey through Gill’s extraordinary career, which has seen him described in turn as a ‘documentarist’, ‘anthropologist’ and ‘dazzling visual poet’.
Photographs by Stephen Gill
Words by Gary Topp, Director, Arnolfini
Edited & sequenced by Stephen Gill
Design by Greger Ulf Nilson