Simon Bedwell: SOCIETY Summer Season 2017 – Summer Festival

24–25 June 2017


Simon Bedwell

A key moment in our extended summer festival – come and spend the day at Hospitalfield.

The weekend will include a new sculptural commission in the Picture Gallery by Simon Bedwell plus a programme of talks, tours and workshops. Our café will be open for delicious lunches and cakes.


Inspired by Brian Yuzna’s 1989 film, in which the poor are ingested by the rich at ceremonial soirees, Simon Bedwell’s new installation SOCIETY features portraits heads of the current Cabinet, laughing at an amorphous, orgiastic mass of interlinking, organic, crafted pot-bodies.

In addition to Simon Bedwell’s newly commissioned installation, visitors to SOCIETY will also be able to see two sets of printed material collected by the artist: etchings by John Kay and Faceache comic strips.

This is part of Hospitalfield Summer Festival 2017 – check out the other events at the bottom of this page or read this introduction…



Simon Bedwell installation in the Picture Gallery and displays of John Kay etchings and Faceache comic strips on the first floor rooms.

Summer Cafe open for lunch and cakes, 11am – 5pm

House and Garden open to explore, 11am – 5pm



Saturday 24 June

11.00am – 1.00pm: Satirical Head Ceramics Workshop with Kevin Andrew Morris. £5 materials fee. Please book online…

12.00 – 1.00pm: Heritage Tour

2.00 – 2.30pm: Collection Viewing and Introduction by Andrew MacGregor who will talk through the extraordinary selection of rebellious print material which we have borrowed from his personal collection for SOCIETY. Free. Please book online…

3.00 – 4.00pm: Heritage Tour

4.00 – 5.00pm: Talk by Simon Bedwell which will give insight into his previous work and to the new commission for Hospitalfield. Free, please book online…

5.00pm – 6.00pm: Opening reception, all welcome.

6.30 – 8.20pm: SOCIETY Supper, all welcome. Free, please book online…

We have some rooms available if you are coming for the events and would like to stay over. Get in touch with Laura Simpson to arrange.

Sunday 25 June

11.00am – 1.00pm: Pamphleteering Workshop – DIY publish brilliant campaigning booklets in this practical workshop. £5 materials fee, please book online…

12.00 – 1.00pm: Heritage Tour

3.00 – 4.00pm: Heritage Tour

As space for each event is limited, these are nominal booking fees which we put in place to encourage people to attend when they book a place.


Simon Bedwell’s work has generally been characterised by a sprawling, mouthy, sensuous version of institutional critique which deliberately eschews the genre’s usual Calvinist mode. Institutional critique is a term given to the systematic investigation, reflection on and acting against the structures inherent in institutions. Art galleries and museums are the most usual focus of institutional critique by artists but with this project there’s a chance to think about the process of institutional critique in terms of everybody’s reflection on society’s political institutions in relation to democracy, press and government.

Simon Bedwell (Born Croydon, 1963) lives and works in London. He graduated from the MFA course at Goldsmiths College, London, in 1993, and has been teaching there since 2000. He has exhibited widely throughout the UK and internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include at Piper Keys, London (2016); Howick Place, London and Hå gamle prestegard, Norway (both 2014) and he was part of the group exhibition In a Dream I Saw a Way to Survive and I Was Full of Joy at Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester (2016). In 2011 he curated a series of five weekend exhibitions and events called The Hole which had the strap line ‘The Hole is for art, not art history’. His work was included in Rude Brittania at Tate Britain in 2010 and he had a major solo show at Studio Voltaire in London entitled The Asphalt World in 2009.

In 1991 Simon Bedwell co-founded the London art group BANK with John Russell, which for 12 years made art, exhibitions, tabloid-style publications and events including projects at Musee d’Art Moderne, Paris and ICA, London (both 1997).

Simon Bedwell’s new work has been supported by The Elephant Trust.


Images and references: Simon Bedwell, The Asphalt World, Studio Voltaire. Reference in this biographical information to Simon Bedwell’s Goldsmiths profile page.


John Kay (1742 – 1826) was a barber, caricaturist and engraver born near Dalkeith and well known for the portraits he made, first of his fellow barber-surgeons and then of other characters which he saw around Edinburgh.


Image: John Kay etching from his Giant series.


Faceache was originally drawn by Ken Reid and later by Frank McDiarmid in which the protagonist Ricky Rubberneck was a boy with a extraordinarily bendable head and body which enabled him to disguise himself as other animals and inanimate objects.The strip was published in Jet and then in Buster running between 1971 and 1988.


Image: Faceache logo image.


Hospitalfield is delighted to present a specially selected display from the personal collection of Andrew MacGregor, an Aberdeen based activist and collector. The printed publications, posters, flyers and objects selected for SOCIETY are mechanisms for thinking about and protesting against our institutions: government, politicians, church, royal family, judiciary, press, military, aristocracy, banks and businesses. The items presented employ humour, explicitness and style to prompt thought and action. MacGregor cites his collection as being driven by two obsessions: Firstly a lifetime of protest: on the streets, on the couch shouting at the television news and in small daily acts of rebellion. Secondly a lifetime of obsessive collecting with a need to preserve for future generations evidence of those individuals and organisations which have campaigned on political, social, economic, military, or religious issues.

I pick up leaflets all the time, take stickers and posters off walls, go to political events to acquire the latest campaign literature. Not only that, I have started to acquire older material, from 100, 200 years ago. It is then you realise that there have always been radical voices, and the causes are still much the same. This is fascinating but also tragic that the same issues have not still not been won…


Images: working photos of Andrew MacGregor’s collection.


Kevin Andrew Morris will host a two hour workshop, on Saturday from 11am, where you make a small clay head; modelling the physical characteristics and facial expressions of an imaginary or real character you would like to either satirise or to champion. Learn more about the Dundee Ceramics Workshop during the session so that you can have your piece fired with the others.

Kevin Andrew Morris is an artist and the Workshop Technician at Dundee Ceramics Workshop, an artist-led initiative from the same group who used to run Tin Roof Arts Collective Studios. He graduated with BA in Ceramic Design in 2010 from The Glasgow School of Art. Morris’s most recent work engages with concepts of craft, material and place, motivated by an investigation of family heritage and material culture. Recent exhibitions and projects include A Northern Soul at Woodend Barn, Aberdeenshire, 2016, and at the Lighthouse, Glasgow, 2015; Hot tub Kiln Machine as part of Glasgow Open House Festival, 2017, and Coffee til Dusk, Whisky till Dawn at The Banff Centre Alberta, 2016.

Places are limited so please book online…

Dundee Ceramics Workshop is located close to the city centre at Unit 6 Matthew Court, Milne’s East Wynd, Dundee, DD1 5BA. Established in 2016, it provides workshop facilities, classes, kiln hire, and 1-to-1 tuition for ceramic artists and enthusiasts. You can find out more on their website…


Come along to this workshop on Sunday morning from 11am til 1pm to use words and images to create your own pamphlets. Inspired by all ways of DIY publishing, this is a chance to make printed material to spread your opinions and commentary of issues on your mind. During the workshop we will be able to look at a rich history of pamphleteering in political, social and comedic traditions in order to get new ideas for getting our message across.

The workshop will be led by Dundee and Glasgow based artist, Kirsty McKeown. Kirsty works predominantly in collage, text and print-making; unpicking the assumed roles of women in society. These un-pickings begin from popular culture and make use of humor as a tactic of disarmament, drawing attention to the stereotyping and mundanities of everyday life. Recent research and projects have focused on the influence of war time Britain on the changing roles of women at work, with specific reference to four factors: political, physical, industrial and domestic. McKeown’s choice of hands-on modes of production reflects the labour-focused context whilst referencing the lo-fi, cut and paste aesthetic of the punk Riot Grrrl movement and the DIY ethics of zines such as Girl Germs, Joanie4Jackie and the See Red Womens workshop collective. These modes of production to create artworks in the format of zines, posters and badges; politically-critical artworks which are accessible in and beyond a gallery context. Since March 2016 McKeown has run Chainworks Studios, which hosts a varied collective of visual artists and makers in the east of Dundee, as well as teaching Art and Design at Glasgow Clyde College. McKeown was the Chair of Generator Projects, an artist – led organisation in Dundee, between 2014 and 2015.

Please are limited so please book online…



Simon Bedwell’s new work has been supported by The Elephant Trust.

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