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Walking the landscape: a conversation with Iain Sinclair

Much of Iain Sinclair’s writing and film-making is inextricably linked with London, walking and history.

At this event, Iain Sinclair and Christopher Riopelle, Curator of Post-1800 Paintings, will discuss how artists and writers, such as Balke and Sinclair have been, and continue to be, affected by the places in which they find themselves.

Click here for more info

Swandown at the IFFR on 28/01/2015 – Rotterdam

Swandown will be at the International Film Festival in Rotteram on Jan 28th.

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Ian Breakwell important works from the ‘60s and ‘70s

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30 years ago, on April Fools Day, Anthony Reynolds Gallery presented the first exhibition in its cavernous Old Street basement space: New Work by Ian Breakwell. The series of monumental paintings on display were far from what his many followers anticipated; but then Breakwell was an artist whose championship of the extraordinary in the ordinary was always unexpected. As the late, great commentator Tom Lubbock put it: ‘he was a painter, diarist, film-maker, fiction writer, photographer, and broadcaster. His work was a series of one-offs and each one is a surprise…a heartening affirmation of unfathomable ongoing ordinariness’. Breakwell was indeed all these things and more, a great polymath artist with a roll-call of heart-and-soul-mates that included James Joyce and Robert Walser, Schubert and Thelonius Monk, Goya and Magritte, Ingmar Bergman and Buster Keaton, and who, in the words of Felicity Sparrow, was ‘the champion of the underdog. The unseen, the unloved. And the unlovely.’

Breakwell was and is a unique and hugely influential figure, one of the greatest exponents of the visual language of word and text. Surrealism, Letterism, Fluxus, Happenings, Systems, chance and order are all part of his make-up; even the Kitchen Sink School, but without any of the turgidity. Out of these and his working class Midlands background Breakwell fashioned a brilliant and utterly singular oeuvre. There is certainly a dark side to his work which frequently verges on the repellent but its essential humanity and surreal humour always triumphs. His texts and images weave together the slight with the profound, digging nuggets of gold out of the mud of the everyday. ‘Reassuringly familiar starting points, i.e. clichés, are the deliberately chosen basis of most of my artwork, whether writings, drawings, paintings, films or videotapes. Then the way is clear to test and turn that familiarity into unexpected forms which hopefully disturb complacency.’

Ten years after his death in 2005, Anthony Reynolds Gallery is presenting a selection of major works from the first two decades of Breakwell’s career. The exhibition includes the most comprehensive expression of Breakwell’s major diary pieces, The 1974 Diary. This massive work has not been seen complete in London since his ICA exhibition in 1977. The show also includes important and rarely seen works from the 60’s, among them the apparently gruesome diptych, The Kill (1969) and the remarkable Description of a Picture (1968) which is a long distance forerunner of countless descriptive ‘word pictures’ of more recent years. Further exhibits include two rare studies for the Walking Man Diary of 1975-78 (Tate Collection) a unique large-scale work derived from an early performance piece, Buffet Car News (1967), and a series of three sexually challenging collages from 1971.

Breakwell’s last major work, BC/AD, is included in the exhibition Self: Image and Identity: Self-Portraiture from Van Dyck to Louise Bourgeois at the Turner Contemporary in Margate from 24 January to 10 May.

Please be advised this exhibition contains images of a sexually explicit nature.



Abandoned Goods will be at Sundance on Jan 24th, 27th,28th and 29th.

Check this page for more info.



I’ll be appearing at the Blake Festival in Oxford on January 18th

I’ll be appearing at the Blake Festival in Oxford on January 18th. More information from:

 Inspired By Blake Launch Event
with Philip Pullman, Caspar Henderson, and Iain Sinclair

 When / Where:

Sunday 18th January, 3pm

Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford


This panel discussion opens the festival and examines the many different aspects of William Blake, his influence on thought and culture, and his relevance today. The panel features Philip Pullman, President of the Blake Society, Iain Sinclair, author and psychogeographer, whose book ‘Blake’s London’ examines Blake’s relationship with our capital, and Caspar Henderson, whose new book, ‘A New Map of Wonders’,  explores wonder and things that make the world astonishing. Renowned Oxford choral Group Schola Cantorum will begin the evening with a performance of settings of Blake’s poems by Ralph Vaughan Williams, John Tavener, and Oisten Sommerfeldt.

For tickets, please phone 01865 333623, or visit the Customer Service desk in Blackwell’s Bookshop, or for enquiries, please email

Does a walk free the mind?

Iain on BBC Radio 4 Today

Aside from the exercise, can walking help you to think clearly? There is no shortage of writers who have drawn inspiration from their daily stroll.

Claire Tomalin, biographer of keen walkers Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Samuel Pepys and Jane Austen, told Today: “I love walking. I find it absolutely thrilling to walk along the Thames where Pepys walked”.

“You see the sky and the river in the same way that your subject did”.

Iain Sinclair, an author and filmmaker who does the same walk every morning, said: “I walk for 40 minutes every morning before I start working, as a kind of mediation between the state of sleeping and the state of waking.”

First broadcast Today programme 16 January 2015.