Paul Seawright was born in Belfast 1965 and is currently Professor of Photography and Head of Belfast School of Art at the University of Ulster.
Previously he was Dean of Art Media and Design at the University of Wales, Newport and Director of the Centre for Photographic Research. His photographs have been exhibited worldwide and are held in many museum collections including The Tate, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, International Centre of Photography New York, Portland Art Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Arts Councils of Ireland, England and N.Ireland, UK Government Collection and the Irish Museum of Modern Art.
In 2002 he was commissioned by the Imperial War Museum London to respond to the war in Afghanistan and his photographs of battle-sites and minefields have subsequently been exhibited in North America, Canada, Ireland, Spain, France, Germany, Korea, Japan and China.
The National Media Museum in Bradford exhibited a survey of his work, curated by the FotoMuseum Antwerp, Belgium. He has published six monographs. Ffotogallery, the National Agency for Photography in Wales published the major monograph, Invisible Cities in 2007, the culmination of four years photographing the cities of sub-Saharan Africa. In 2003 he represented Wales at the Venice Biennale of Art and in 1997 won the Irish Museum of Modern Art/Glen Dimplex Prize. He was recently commissioned by MAXXI the Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome to photograph WWII bomb sites throughout Italy. His four part series on early Northern Irish Photography was broadcast on BBC1 earlier this year.
He has a PhD in Photography from the University of Wales and was awarded a personal chair in 2002. He is a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society sitting on their Contemporary Fellowship Panel, and a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts Manufacture and Commerce. He is an Honorary Fellow of The University of Wales, Cardiff and Visiting Professor at The University of Wales Newport and Chung Ang University Seoul. He a board member of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Centre for Trauma and Transformation, Omagh, The Pushkin Trust and several Photographic galleries and festivals throughout Europe. In 2008 he served on the Art & Design panel for the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise and is a panel member of the Art and Humanities Research Council. He is represented by the Kerlin Gallery Dublin, Tanya Bonakdar New York, Sies Hoke Dusseldorf and Gallerie du Jour/Agnes b in Paris.
“My work has been concerned with the study of conflict as a site of artistic, cultural and critical production, specifically the photographic interrogation of the conflict in Northern Ireland. Working through the medium of photography and in the context of the gallery and museum, I have set out to counter the enormous body of visual material produced through journalistic modes of production, by making artworks that are thematically co-terminus with the subject focus of mass media in relation to conflict but develop strategies that reject the generally synoptic and reductive methods of mainstream media practice.
My practice explores how the language, discourse and locations of art practice might develop new methods that represent conflict and contest established visual constructions of meaning and moral complexion in situations and sites of conflict. It also questions how conflict transforms and constructs landscapes, creating politicised terrain that can be usefully read and/or reconstructed through artistic intervention/production. The works from Northern Ireland and later Afghanistan, questioned how photographic practice could extend the narrative of a temporal post-conflict landscape by developing photographic methods that enable the land to function beyond its surface materiality, transforming the value and meaning of it by exploiting the relationship between photographing and experiencing landscape.
The series Sectarian Murder, Belfast, Fires and Walls have been included in many international exhibitions as representative of photography that confronts dominant mediations of the Northern Irish conflict – e.g. Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, ICA California, ICA London, British Art Show, ICP New York, Irish Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Tate Britain, Bristish Art Show 5. Hidden, has equally been included in international exhibitions that galvanise the argument that photographs made from within the discourse of art practice provide us with a useful, critical alternative to the widespread editorial coverage of contemporary conflict. The work has been included in exhibitions with other notable figures in this field including Andreas Serrano, Willie Doherty, Sophie Ristelheuber, Thomas Ruff, Luc Delahaye.”
Professor Paul Seawright
SEAWRIGHT, P 1993. The Orange Order. Belfast: Arts Council Gallery.
SEAWRIGHT, P 1995. Inside Information. London: The Photographers Gallery.
SEAWRIGHT, P 2000. Paul Seawright. Salamanca: Ediciones Universidad Salamanca.
SEAWRIGHT, P 2001. The Forest. Gotenberg/London: Hasselblad Centre/Shoreditch Bienale.
SEAWRIGHT, P 2003. Hidden. London: Imperial War Museum.
SEAWRIGHT, P 2005. Field Notes. Antwerp: FotoMuseum Antwerpen.
SEAWRIGHT, P, COPPOCK,C. eds. 2006. So Now Then. Cardiff: Ffotogalery/HPF
SEAWRIGHT, P 2007. Invisible Cities. Ffotogallery
SEAWRIGHT, P 2013. Volunteer. Artist Photo Books
Selected Reviews and Articles:
BERNSTEIN, J. SEALY, M. 1999. Revealing Views: Images from Ireland. London: Royal Festival Hall.
BRETT, D. 1993. “Ed Kashi and Paul Seawright: Arts Council Gallery, Belfast, Review: in CIRCA No65 Autumn 1993 p.65. Belfast
BULL, S. 2004. ‘Documentary Photography in the Art Gallery’ in RANEY, K. ed. Winter 2004. Engage 14. London: Engage Publications.
CAMPANY, D. 2003. ‘Safety in Numbness: Some Remarks on Problems of Late Photography’. In GREEN, D. 2003. Where is the Photograph? Brighton: Photoworks.
CARVILLE, J. 2005. ‘Beyond Geography’ in SEAWRIGHT, P 2005. Field Notes. Antwerp: FotoMuseum Antwerpen.
CHANDLER, D. 2003. ‘Paul Seawright: Hidden’. In Portfolio no 37. Edinburgh: Portfolio Photography Workshop.
DAWSON, T. 1997. Sightings:New Photographic Art. London:ICA
DORRIAN, M 2003. Deterritorialisations…Revisioning Landscapes and Politics. London: Black Dog
DURDEN, M. 2003. ‘The Poetics of Absence: Photography in the Aftermath of War. In SEAWRIGHT,P. 2003. Hidden. London: Imperial War Museum.
DURDEN,M. 2006. Retrospective Gazing: Photography, Belfast and the Archive. Belfast: Belfast Exposed Learning Pack.
DURDEN,M. 2006. Art documentary. Conference Paper, Netherlands FotoMuseum 2005.
FOSCHI,G. 2001. ‘Paul Seawright’ in ZOOM, November/December 2001 ppp16-21, Milan: Zoom America inc.
GRAHAM, C. 2003. ‘Belfast in Photographs. In ALLEN,N., KELLY,A. eds. 2003. The Cities of Belfast. Dublin: Four Courts Press.
JACKSON,A. 1999. Insiders and Frontiers: : Paul Seawright’s Images of the “Troubles”. In KREILKAMP,V. Ed.1999. – Journal of Irish studies. XXXIII:3 & 4 XXXIV:I. Special Issue: The Visual Arts. Morristown NJ: Irish American Cultural Institute.
JOHNSTONE,I.,MALBERT R., 1991. Shocks to the System. London: South Bank Centre/Arts Council Collection.
KEARNEY,F. 1998. ‘Alternatives to propaganda – Strategies of Representation in Fine Art Photography and the Media in Northern Ireland.’ SOURCE Issue 17. Belfast: Photo Works North.
KELLY,L.1996. Thinking Long: Contemporary Art in the North of Ireland. Kinsale: Gandon Editions.
KELLY,L. 2007. Art and the Disembodied Eye. Golden Thread. Belfast.
KENT,S. 1992. Paul Seawright: Preview in Time Out 1-8th Jan. London.
KREILKAMP,V. Ed.1999. – Journal of Irish studies. XXXIII:3 & 4 XXXIV:I. Special Issue: The Visual Arts. Morristown NJ: Irish American Cultural Institute.
LAVOIE,V. 2003. Maintenant. Now: Images of Present Time. Montreal: La Mois de la Photo.
LEE,D. 1992. ‘Common Ground’ in BRITISH JOURNAL OF PHOTOGRAPHY,July 1992. London
LEONARD,J. 1997. Memorials to the Casualties of Conflict: Northern Ireland 1969 to 1997. Belfast: Community Relations Council.
MARSHALL,C. 2003. Views from an island, exhibiton catalogue for the exhibition of the same name, Art Museum of the Millennium Monument Beijing and the Shanghai Art Museum. Dublin: Irish Museum of Modern Art.
MARSHALL,C. 2003. The Unblinking Eye: Lens Based work from the IMMA Collection. Dublin:IMMA
McCABE, M. 1999. ‘Present Tense, Some Notes on Images from Ireland’ in BERNSTEIN,J. SEALY,M. 1999. Revealing Views: Images from Ireland. London: Royal Festival Hall.
McGONAGLE,D. 1999. Irish Art Now: From the Poetic to the Political. London: Merrell.
McGONAGLE,D. 2000a. ‘Mining the Faultline – Paul Seawright recent work’ in SEAWRIGHT, P 2000. Paul Seawright. Salamanca: Ediciones Universidad Salamanca.
McGONAGLE,D. 2000b. Shifting Ground:Selected works of Irish Art 1950 – 2000. Dublin: Irish Museum of Modern Art.
MORRISSEY,S. 1997. ‘The End is the Beginnning is the End’ in DAWSON,T. 1997. Sightings:New Photographic Art. London:ICA
MURPHY,S A. 2005. Governing the Tongue. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press.
MURRAY,P.ed. 1999. 0044 Irish Artists in Britain. Kinsale: Gandon
NICKARD, G. ed. 1994. Aperture: Ireland a Troubled Mirror. Issue134. New York: Aperture.
O’TOOLE,F. 1995. The Lie of the Land in The Lie of the Land, REDMOND,C ed Gallery of Photography. Dublin.
PAHLKE, R E. 2002. The Gap Show: Young Critical art from Great Britain – Museum Ostwall, Dortmund. Dortmund: Museum am Ostwall.
PICAZO, G. 2004 Landscapes After the Battle. Panera:Cenro d’art la Panera.
PINNEY, C. 2006. ‘What is to be Done’ in SOURCE issue 48 Winter 2006. Belfast: PhotoWorks North
RANEY, K. ed. Winter 2004. Engage 14. London: Engage Publications.
RUANE, F. MURRAY, P. 2005. IAfter the Thaw: Recent Irish Art from the AIB Art Collection. Cork: Gandon
ROLSTON,B. 1999. ‘All in the Mind? Photographing the Border.’ In KREILKAMP,V. Ed.1999. – Journal of Irish studies. XXXIII:3 & 4 XXXIV:I. Special Issue: The Visual Arts. Morristown NJ: Irish American Cultural Institute.
SOMERS, D. 2005. ‘Crime in Antwerp’ in SEAWRIGHT, P 2005. Field Notes. Antwerp: FotoMuseum Antwerpen.
TWARDY, C. 1999. ‘Troubled – Photography and Film from Northern Ireland – review. Afterimage Sept 1999.
WILLIAMS, V. 1995. ‘Circumstantial Evidence’ in SEAWRIGHT, P 1995. Inside Information. London: The Photographers Gallery.
Selected Public Collections:
The Art Institute of Chicago.
Deutch Bank Frankfurt
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
The Tate, London
UK Government Collection
The International Center of Photography, New York.
The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin
Museum of Contemporary Art, Strasbourg.
Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig.
Portland Art Museum, Oregon.
The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.
Buhl Collection, New York.
Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris
The Imperial War Museum, London.
National Museum of Wales, Cardiff.
Government Art Collection, London.
Contemporary Art society, London.
The Crawford, Cork
University of Cork/Glucksman.
Simmons and Simmons, London.
ACC Bank, Dublin
AIB Collection Dublin
South Dublin County Council
Collection Agnes b, Paris
Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum
Vereins-und Westbank, Hamburg
The Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada.
The Arts Council of Ireland.
The Arts Council of Great Britain.
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland
The British Council.
Southeast Museum of Photography, Florida.
The Ulster Museum, Belfast.
Royal Hospitals, Belfast
Crawford Art Gallery, Cork