John Walter is a multimedia artist with a research-based practice that tests the boundaries of pictorial space. In a new exhibition Capsid at Manchester’s Home gallery, John will be exhibiting a new series of work from 10 November until 6 January with free admission. A maximalist installation occupies the whole gallery space exploring the artist’s ongoing fascination with the representation of viruses within the visual arts. Multiple bodies of work inform each other and contextualise one another across the broad, science-based themes.
Capsid is the London-based artist’s largest solo show to date, marking the defining career of the artist that intersects art and science. Curated by Bren O’Callaghan, the work takes the HIV capsid as the starting point to the research. “Capsids are the protein shells of a virus which act to protect, cloak and deliver the virus to its host”, explains the artist. Essentially, the exhibition addresses the “crisis of representation surrounding viruses and presents a new way of viewing and understanding HIV based on the best current scientific knowledge” through art.
In an attempt to bring awareness and visibility to marginalised topics in contemporary culture, such as the HIV virus, John unpacks ideas of infection and its inherent social connotations. The work visually examines the HIV virus as a “sneak” which is a menacing agent that tricks the host into spreading its infection. Through the intertwining of “art, science, allegory and real-life situations”, the work additionally draws parallels between the process of contagion and the spread of social ideas between groups or systems. For instance, in the humorously titled A Virus Walks Into a Bar, performers are distinctively separated into different social groups through their microbe-inspired costumes and interact with a giant plastic capsid that holds one performer hostage.
Innovatingly re-articulating the representation of viruses within the arts, John’s work offers a unique perspective on virology that is visually communicative. Capsid analogises the transmission of disease with the transference of culture through a wide variety of paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, sound and video installations. Additionally, the exhibition features semiotic phenomena from “children’s television, pharmaceutical industries and LGBTQI+ culture, science and art history” which all offer differing outlooks on the matter at hand. Capsid opens this week on 10 November until 6 January at Home, the centre for international contemporary art in Manchester.
- Take part in our 2019 audience survey and you could win a £200 gift voucher and more
- Antti Kalevi intricately and abstractly draws his favourite places around the world
- Provoke magazine presents rare and haunting photographs of 1960s Japan
- John Edmonds explores identity and desire within black communities in his first monograph
- Here's how It's Nice That cheers ourselves up on Blue Monday
- Designers, illustrators and (of course) gamers come together for An Oral History Of Final Fantasy VII
- An egg beats Kylie Jenner to become the most liked Instagram photo... ever
- Mastercard reveals new nameless logo courtesy of Michael Bierut
- Sam Youkilis uses scale, form and colour to challenge the tropes of travel photography
- Betina Du Toit's naturally-beautiful images are “stripped back from the non-essential”
- Giacomo Gambineri on shifting his creative career from graphic designer to illustrator
- Hiroki Nishiyama draws on traditional graphic design techniques in his illustration practice