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‘In Place of Hate’: In Conversation with Edmund Clark

Edmund Clark uses photography, film, found imagery, and text to explore links between representation and politics. Clark’s work has been exhibited internationally at the Imperial War Museum, London, International Center of Photography Museum, New York, Zephyr, Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen, Mannheim, Huis Marseille Museum, Amsterdam, Houston Center for Photography, Texas, Saatchi Gallery, London, and Imperial War Museum North, Manchester.

His work has been acquired for national and international collections, such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, National Portrait Gallery, the Imperial War Museum, and the International Center of Photography Museum. Clark was awarded the Royal Photographic Society Hood Medal for outstanding photography for public service in 2011 and made an honorary fellow in 2018. He was shortlisted for the prestigious Prix Pictet 2013 for his series Guantanamo: If the Light Goes Out. 

Clark is Reader in the Political Image at the London College of Communication, part of the University of the Arts London, where he teaches on the MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography course.

Gabriella Kardos: Before we delve more deeply into the project you did at HMP Grendon, ‘In Place of Hate’, could you talk briefly about your art practice in general? 


Edmund Clark: I am interested in linking history, politics, and representation. My work is research-based and combines a range of references and forms including bookmaking, installations, photography, video, documents, text, and found images and material. Projects often take a long time from idea initiation, research, and making, to dissemination in different forms across various platforms. Two broad subject areas are 21st-century conflict and criminal justice and incarceration. Recurring themes are exploring systems of power and control and unseen processes and experiences. Specific conflict subjects have included: the detention camps at the US Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; extraordinary rendition and the CIA secret prison program; and the use of control orders by the UK government. I have made two bodies of work about experiences o f incarceration in the UK, including nearly five years as artist-in-residence in HM Prison Grendon, Europe’s only wholly therapeutic prison for violent and sexually violent offenders.

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