HMP Grendon26.01.2023

Art at HMP Grendon: There is no masterpiece

Ikon presents There is no masterpiece, the first exhibition at the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Studio at HMP Grendon, Buckinghamshire (26 January – 16 March 2023).

The exhibition features work by four artists – Simon Faithfull, Fae Kilburn, Aidan Moesby and John Yeadon – selected in response to Ikon’s recent exhibition Edward Lear: Moment to Moment. Each artist also delivers a practical workshop for the prisoners at HMP Grendon, exploring Lear’s legacy in the field of visual art, while introducing the prison community to techniques of collagraphy, printmaking and drawing. A selection of artworks produced by the prisoners will be added to the exhibition.

The prisoners previously met Matthew Bevis, Professor in English Literature at University of Oxford, who introduced Lear’s landscape drawings in relation to his poetic practice, observing: 

“The pictured moment, for Lear, is not an epiphany. It does not offer revelation, and it shies away from eventfulness. If anything, it seems to exist in a kind of “meanwhile”, resting alongside other moments or apprehending itself as part of a series.” 

The Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust has funded Art at HMP Grendon for twelve years. With a focus on the development of the prisoners’ artistic practice, Ikon has opened the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Studio at HMP Grendon – a dedicated space for workshops, in printing and painting, and a changing programme of exhibitions, art historical and contemporary. This space was made possible with the support of the Trust and the senior team at HMP Grendon.

Future exhibitions include presentations of work by Australian painter Sidney Nolan (1917 – 1992) and Austrian artist Marie-Louise von Motesiczky (1906 – 1996) and Dean Kelland (artist in residence at HMP Grendon 2019 – 2023). The residency runs alongside a public programme of research symposia and events at Ikon, allowing a platform for public discourse on the role of art in criminal justice.

Please note HMP Grendon is a Category B prison and is not accessible to the public. For more information please contact James Latunji-Cockbill



HMP Grendon08.12.2022
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Notes from HMP Grendon
Racing Thoughts No.15
The latest post by Dean Kelland, Ikon’s artist in residence at HMP Grendon. “It started with a seemingly insignificant series of e-mail notifications. None of which I responded to. In that lack of response lay the catalyst for a decision to retrace steps and try to find or re-find the roots of what I do. It is no surprise that after 25 years as an educator, 100 miles an hour, week in week out I would feel a sense of loss.”
HMP Grendon22.09.2022
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Notes from HMP Grendon
Racing Thoughts No.14
I had made it a policy from the beginning of the residency to never ask directly about anyone’s reason for being in Grendon. I had never googled them or tried to find any details about them outside of the prison either. For this reason it was easy to interject with certainty and also not react to the list of offences that had been shared. “Who am I to judge anyone here? You’ve been judged, by others…and yourselves. The present is more than the past for me and I prefer to move forward not back.”
HMP Grendon29.06.2022
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Notes from HMP Grendon
Racing Thoughts No.13
The latest post by Dean Kelland, Ikon’s artist in residence at HMP Grendon. “George, here is your matcha tea with soya.” I looked up from my screen and walked over to the counter. “Lovely, thanks Sonia.” My regular visits seemed to coincide with Sonia’s shifts and, as I arrived at the counter, she smiled. “You’re always welcome.”

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