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(1930 – 2008), United Kingdom

Keith Arnatt Biography

Keith Arnatt was one of the UK’s leading artists during the emergence of conceptual art in the 1960’s and 1970’s. His work from this period explores the range of possibilities of meaning and function within art, as well as considering how the perception of an artwork operates in relation to the act of creating a work. The artist’s extensive use of photography during this time was mainly to record works whose physicality was connected to specific contexts. From 1973, Arnatt began to develop a growing interest in the camera as an instrument for art making, adopting the camera as his primary tool for producing art rather than simply documenting it. The artist’s subsequent photographic series underscore his analytic method of working, and reveal an observational style influenced by his awareness of the typological preoccupations of artists and photographers such as Bernd and Hilla Becher.

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Keith Arnatt was born in Oxford, UK in 1930. He died in Wales in 2008. Major solo exhibitions include Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 1977, Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, 1986, The Photographers’ Gallery, London, 1989, 2007, CAYC - Centro de Arte y Comunicación, Buenos Aires, 1992, XXI Bienal de São Paulo, 1991, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, 2009, Tate Britain, London, 2013. Major group exhibitions include Seattle Art Museum, 1969, Camden Arts Centre, London, 1969, Tate Gallery, London, 1972, Hayward Gallery, London, 1972, MoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1970, Vancouver Art Gallery, 1970, Barbican Art Gallery, London, 1990, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 2001, Tate Britain, London, 2002, 2007, Fundació Joan Miró, Centre d’Estudis d’Art Contemporani, Barcelona, 2003, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, 2004, Kunstmuseum Bern, 2006, MoMA PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, 2009, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2011, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, 2011, MOCA - Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2012.

Text courtesy Sprüth Magers.

Keith Arnatt Featured Artworks

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Mirror-lined pit (grass bottom) by Keith Arnatt contemporary artwork
Keith ArnattMirror-lined pit (grass bottom), 1968First executed June 1969. An invisible hole revealed by my own shadow, 1968 Black and white vintage photograph,
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Artist's Piss by Keith Arnatt contemporary artwork
Keith ArnattArtist's Piss, 1970/20152 black and white photographs,
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Art as an Act of Retraction by Keith Arnatt contemporary artwork
Keith ArnattArt as an Act of Retraction, 1971/201512 black and white photographs
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Self-Burial with Mirror by Keith Arnatt contemporary artwork
Keith ArnattSelf-Burial with Mirror, 1969Black and white vintage photograph,
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Self-Burial by Keith Arnatt contemporary artwork
Keith ArnattSelf-Burial, 1969/20159 black and white photographs,
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Study, I am a Real Artist by Keith Arnatt contemporary artwork
Keith ArnattStudy, I am a Real Artist, 1969-72Silver gelantin print
8.5 x 9 cm
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Notes from Jo by Keith Arnatt contemporary artwork
Keith ArnattNotes from Jo, 1991-95/2013C-print
40 x 34 cm
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Notes from Jo by Keith Arnatt contemporary artwork
Keith ArnattNotes from Jo, 1991-95/2013C-print
40 x 34 cm
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Keith Arnatt Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Keith Arnatt, Absence of the Artist at Sprüth Magers, London
Closed
1–26 September 2015 Keith Arnatt Absence of the Artist Sprüth MagersLondon
Contemporary art exhibition, Keith Arnatt, Notes at Sprüth Magers, Berlin
Closed
14 September–2 November 2013 Keith Arnatt Notes Sprüth MagersBerlin

Keith Arnatt Represented By

Sprüth Magers contemporary art gallery in Berlin, Germany Sprüth Magers Berlin, London, Los Angeles

Keith Arnatt In Related Press

Alive and kicking: 'Conceptual Art in Britain 1964–1979' at Tate Britain Related Press Alive and kicking: 'Conceptual Art in Britain 1964–1979' at Tate Britain 18 April 2016, Wallpaper*

Conceptual art is still alive and well, and an important part of contemporary art. But it really is no longer acceptable to use the terms 'conceptual' and 'contemporary' interchangeably, as a new show at Tate Britain demonstrates. Though featuring some of the earliest examples of British conceptual art, the show’s dates...

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Keith Arnatt, Absence of the Artist at Sprüth Magers Gallery, London Related Press Keith Arnatt, Absence of the Artist at Sprüth Magers Gallery, London 28 September 2015, Aesthetica magazine

In 1971 Keith Arnatt proposed “Art as an Act of Omission”. Comprising a single panel text document, in which Arnatt quotes philosopher Eric D’Arcy’s book Human Acts – An Essay in their Moral Evaluation (1963), “Art as an Act of Omission” states that, “A person is said to have omitted X if, and only if...

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High concept: Keith Arnatt's 'Absence of the Artist' at Sprüth Magers Related Press High concept: Keith Arnatt's 'Absence of the Artist' at Sprüth Magers 3 September 2015, Wallpaper*

Early conceptual art is surprisingly rich in wit and whimsy, and the late British artist and photographer Keith Arnatt had both in spades, quite literally. One of his key works – and part of a new show at Sprüth Magers’ Mayfair branch – is Self-Burial from 1969, a series of nine photographs of Arnatt slowly sinking into the...

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