James Bryant

James Bryant (b. 1980, Winchester, UK) is a multi-disciplinary artist based in London. He uses photographic processes, often in conjunction with networked technology, performance and site-specific installations, to try and deconstruct the entanglement of mechanical image-making with personal and social patterns of thought. He explores how the realistic image informs the way he thinks and reveals the intrinsically connected relationship of media to consciousness. Recurrent themes in his work are passivity and modes of non-action and these are embedded in the practice and in consideration of the audience’s participation, which is often an integral element.

Bryant received a Bachelor of Arts in Photography at The Arts University Bournemouth in 2003. In 2019 he completed a Master of Arts in Photography at the School of Fine Art, Central St Martins.

For We [breathe] in the space between, and in response to the specific environment of Rotherhithe’s former Police Station, Bryant has made an intervention in the garden. 32 food tins of grass and earth have been extracted from the front lawn and are presented for monetary exchange. Each hole in the garden has been re-filled with ready-mix concrete. The quantity of 32 is chosen with reference to Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup Cans paintings of 1962 and the tins were purchased during the weeks and months preceding the exhibition in order to prepare food at his home.

This work is a self-reflexive consideration of the tenuous position that artists and creative practitioners occupy in the literal space of contemporary building guardianship, but also the broader notion of the commodification of culture. In the search for appropriate and affordable studio locations, it is likely that an artistic activity becomes subsumed as part of a marketing strategy for property development; the artist is guided through the vacant and abandoned spaces of buildings secured for development or scrolls a menu of differently priced rooms and out-houses. This interim moment is a commercial tenancy that can last many years and to participate in the exchange is to participate in the mechanics of gentrification and urban renewal.

A second and inter-related work on display is the projection installation Gestures of inconsequence “A Royal Exchange” 1 (2019). This work is an abstracted record of an intervention in the landscape in which a number of pieces of one of London’s Royal parks were exchanged with common park land, also in London. This is Bryant’s interest in the territorialisation of taste and value, and what behaviour could constitute a subversive act in this context.