mick finch / about

Mick Finch’s work takes the form of studio practice, writing and pedagogical projects.  He exhibits regularly and internationally most recently in Engrams, a one-person show at the Piper Gallery (London 2013) and the group show Painting, Tableau, Stage (Urban Space, Columbus, Ohio, 2013).  He has published widely writing on visual art practices and is an associate editor of the Journal of Visual Art Practice and the Journal of Contemporary Painting for which in 2015, he co-edited a special edition on Simon Hantaï’s work.  He lived, exhibited and taught for 20 years in France and has written extensively about post war French art.  He leads the Tableau research project at CSM an outcome of which was the conference Tableau: Painting Photo Object at Tate Modern in 2011.  More information can be found on the Tableau project’s blog .   

He is a member of the French research group Peinture: un réseau de recherche funded by the French Ministry of Culture and with whom he is currently developing a project about translation in relation to artistic practice.  In 2011 he was an Abbey Fellow in Painting at the British School in Rome and he is a Senior Scholar of the Terra Foundation in Paris.   Mick Finch’s studio practice was initially based in painting.  Since the exhibition Closer Than You Think (Art et Patrimoine, Paris, 1998) his work has increasingly engaged with questions of image and abstraction,  moving away from specific questions of painting in favour of open pictorial regimes.  In the  article Studio notes: Closer Than You Think, Ply- series, Riposte, Sublimey and Nevermind (The Journal of Visual Art Practice, n°. 8.1/2., 2009) he developed a discussion around his studio practice focusing on the modes of address of images as being akin to rhetorical and aesthetic structures.  From 1996 his work increasingly used image mediation and projection in the production of work and he discussed this context in the article The Night Shift (Contemporary Magazine n°. 58, 2003).  He lived and worked in France from 1991–2011 and became increasingly interested in post-war French art and particularly the work of  groups such as Supports-surfaces, Ja-na-pa and BMPT.  This was reflected in much of his writing as well as in the critical context of his studio practice.  He formulated a project that examined a problematic whereby in French the term tableau is often mobilized as an alternative to painting (peinture).  This distinction seems one reason why ‘expanded’ forms of painting in France are very distinct in their engagement from non-French manifestations.  He gave a talk about his own work in 2009 for ICFAR in London that discusses in detail these issues.

He established the Tableau Project in 2010 that has included a research symposium (the procedings of which were published by the Journal of Visual Culture, Volume 12, Number 1 in 2013,  the conference, Tableau: Painting, Photo, Object at Tate Modern in 2011 and a series of seminars The Tableau Form: methodology and composition given by Jean-François Chevrier at CSM in 2011. 
Finch’s work from 2010 onward became increasing involved with photo-relief structures and ideas of collage and montage that derive much of their context from the work of Aby Warburg.  This work was developed through a residency at the British School at Rome in 2011 and in the solo exhibition Engrams (The Piper Gallery, London, 2013).  He is soon to publish 2 articles about the technical apparatus that Aby Warburg utilised in his library in HAmburg.  These articles orginated was in the context of papers presented during Martin Westwood’s Headstone to Hard Drive project.  Finch and Westwood are currently collaborating with the Bilderfahrzeuge research project at the Warburg Institute in London toward staging a colloquium event at the Warburg Haus in Hamburg in June 2016.

The current Book of Knowledge series appropriates and explores images from an 8 volume series of encyclopaedias of this name published by Waverly at the end of the 1950s. He spent hours looking at the volumes and they were the earliest photographic images he had been exposed to and were responsible for creating a highly over determined world view in the mind of a young boy. 

Mick Finch lives in London and is the BA Fine Art Course Leader and Reader in Visual Art Practice at Central Saint Martins, London.