Being Human

In 2009, Chris Gollon was invited to become a Fellow and First Artist in Residence by the prestigious Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University. One of the IAS’s main aims is to inspire new thinking on big themes, by bringing together academics and thinkers from around the world, and from very diverse areas of knowledge. In 2009 the theme was Being Human. Chris Gollon’s task, along with a small group of the world’s leading thinkers from 3 continents, was to describe what it means to be human in 21st century. Sub themes included Abjection/Bare Life, Home, War, Migration, Decentring and Mind/Conciousness. Gollon was given a studio in the grade-one listed Cosin’s Hall, home of the IAS and opposite Durham Cathedral, on Palace Green, a world heritage site.

He would leave his studio door open, allowing the other Fellows (classicists, philosophers, social scientists, physicists, professors of literature and geography among others) to come in to discuss his imagery and their ideas. Gollon’s images provoked their thoughts and words, which in turn partially inspired more images. In a ten-week period, Gollon produced sixteen paintings on the Being Human theme, six of which portray a 21st century Gollonesque vision of the scala naturae, the ‘ladder of nature’ or the ‘great chain of being’.

In The Beginning, a work from Gollon’s Early Thoughts series, in which he prepared for the Fellowship, is now in the collection of the IAS, as is Human, from the Being Human series. All sixteen works, together with texts by a selection of the IAS Fellows and art historian Tamsin Pickeral, are reproduced in BEING HUMAN paintings by Chris Gollon (University of Durham, 2009). A chapter is also devoted to both the Early Thoughts and Being Human series in art historian Tamsin Pickeral’s book Chris Gollon: Humanity in Art (Hyde & Hughes, 2010).

‘Chris Gollon’s work is wonderfully provocative and inspiring and added an exciting new dimension to the Being Human project at Durham’s Institute of Advanced Study on the Palace Green world heritage site.’
Bill Bryson OBE, International author and Durham University Chancellor



View larger image

Gods

48” x 36” (122 x 91cms) acrylic on canvas 2009. Private collection.


View larger image

Angels

48” x 36” (122 x 91cms) acrylic on canvas 2009. Private collection.


View larger image

Beast

48” x 36” (122 x 91cms) acrylic on canvas 2009. Private collection.


View larger image

Human

48” x 36” (122 x 91cms) acrylic on canvas 2009. Collection of the Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University.


View larger image

Almost Human

36” x 24” (91 x 61cms) acrylic on canvas 2009. Private collection.


View larger image

Insect

48” x 36” (122 x 91cms) acrylic on canvas 2009. IAP Fine Art, London.


View larger image

In The Beginning (Early Thoughts series)

36” x 24” (91 x 61cms) acrylic on canvas 2008. Collection of the Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University.


View larger image

A Dream of Switzerland

48” x 36” (122 x 91cms) acrylic on canvas 2009. IAP Fine Art, London.


View larger image

Satyr Mourning Over A Nymph (after Piero di Cosimo)

48” x 36” (122 x 91cms) acrylic on canvas 2009. Private collection.


View larger image

The Night Feed

48” x 36” (122 x 91cms) acrylic on canvas 2009. IAP Fine Art, London.


View larger image

The Wheel of Fortune

48” x 36” (122 x 91cms) acrylic on canvas 2009. Private collection.


View larger image

The Philosopher’s Dream

36” x 24” (91 x 61cms) acrylic on canvas 2009. Private collection.


View larger image

Study for Angels

36” x 24” (91 x 61cms) acrylic on canvas 2009. IAP Fine Art.


View larger image

Prayer

triptych, each panel 12” x 10” (30.5 x 25.5cms) acrylic on canvas 2009. Private collection.


View larger image

Study for an Angel

16” x 20” (40.5 x 51cms) acrylic on canvas 2009