For the first time in its history, Reading Prison has opened to the public for a major new project by Artangel. Leading artists, performers and writers respond to the work of the prison’s most famous inmate Oscar Wilde, the architecture of the prison and themes of imprisonment and separation. Titled 'Inside - Artists and Writers in Reading Prison', the project runs from 4 September – 4 December 2016.
New works made in response to the prison’s architecture and history by leading artists
including Marlene Dumas, Robert Gober, Nan Goldin, Steve McQueen, Jean-Michel
Pancin and Wolfgang Tillmans will be installed in the Victorian prison’s corridors,
wings and cells.
Plans and prints relating to The Separate System, late 19th century mug-shots of
inmates, and work by Vija Celmins, Rita Donagh, Peter Dreher, Felix Gonzalez-
Torres, Richard Hamilton, Roni Horn and Doris Salcedo will also be exhibited.
Each Sunday in September and October, writers and performers including Neil Bartlett,
Ralph Fiennes, Kathryn Hunter, Ragnar Kjartansson, Maxine Peake, Lemn Sissay,
Patti Smith, Colm Tóibín and Ben Whishaw will pay homage to Wilde by reading De
Profundis in its entirety in the prison chapel.
Writers from around the world - Ai Weiwei, Tahmima Anam, Anne Carson, Joe
Dunthorne, Deborah Levy, Danny Morrison, Gillian Slovo, Binyavanga Wainaina
and Jeanette Winterson - will compose letters from their own direct or imagined
experience of a state-imposed separation from loved ones. Visitors will be able to listen
to and read their letters in some of the cells of the prison.
James Lingwood and Michael Morris, Co-Directors of Artangel, said: “We are excited to be opening up Reading Prison with such a remarkable range of artists, writers and performers responding to the imposing Victorian architecture and the continuing resonance of De Profundis, written by Wilde in his cell as Prisoner C.3.3.
"Inside – Artists and Writers in Reading Prison will offer the public an opportunity to reflect, in a particularly powerful place, on the implications for the individual when separated from society by the state. It’s also a great opportunity for Artangel to work with key cultural partners on the first phase of Reading International, a new three-year arts initiative led by the University of Reading.”
Inside has been made possible with the kind support of the Ministry of Justice and is
presented as part of Reading2016, Reading’s Year of Culture.
Inside is part of the University of Reading’s ‘Reading International’, which is supported
using public funding by the National Lottery through the Arts Council’s Ambition for
Address: Reading Prison, Forbury Road, Reading, Berkshire RG1 3HY
Open: 4 September – 30 October 2016
Wednesday – Thursday 11.00 – 19.00
Friday – Saturday 11.00 – 20.00
Sundays 11.00 – 17.00
Open 3 November - 4 December 2016
Thursdays - 11:00 - 17:00
Friday-Saturday - 11:00 - 19:00
Sundays - 11:00 - 17:00
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