SOCIETY Summer Season 2017 – Summer Festival

10:30am-5:00pm, 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, 10.30am – 5pm

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



Saturday 24 June

11.00am – 1.00pm: Practical workshop, details to be confirmed in early June.

12.00 – 1.00pm: Heritage Tour

2.00 – 3.00pm: 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.


Sunday 25 June

11.00am – 1.00pm: Practical workshop, details to be confirmed in early June.

12.00 – 1.00pm: Heritage Tour

2.00 – 2.30pm: Talk on the Frasers in exile. In her childhood and early adulthood Elizabeth Fraser and her mother, also called Elizabeth, lived away from Hospitalfield, as if in exile, as they did not feel secure at the estate. Hospitalfield researcher and guide, Graham McNicol will do a short talk about what we know of this time.

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 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).


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 a DC Thomson cartoon originally drawn by Ken Reid and later by Frank McDairmid 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.

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