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Associate Professor Christopher Stewart

Biography

Associate Professor Christopher Stewart is a photographic artist and academic whose photographic work, writing and curating revolves around the relationship between real and fictional scenarios, for example in the documentation of training for conflict or how everyday spaces of the city are transformed by film sets.

At UTS he teaches photography in the Photography and Situated Media program. Much of his work is centred on the generation of external cultural partnerships. Recent projects include: Designing for Photobooks – Panel Chair, Artspace, Sydney; Anticipation & Aftermath: When Conflict is Photographed – Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA); Curating Conflict – Centre for Contemporary Photography in Melbourne; Staging Disorder Symposium (co-organised with Dr Esther Teichmann) London College of Communication, University of the Arts London (all 2015); The Contemporary Photobook at the MCA (2014); Rooms: A Symposium about Photography, Poetry and Space with a keynote lecture by Jeff Wall (2013); The Photography Seminar at the MCA and The Postgraduate Photography Symposium at the MCA (both 2012).

Christopher has taken part in over 40 solo and group exhibitions internationally since graduating from the Royal College of Art. They include exhibitions held at the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Whitechapel Gallery in London and the UK’s National Museum of Photography, Film & Television.

Recent exhibitions include Dark Pacific Sun, Gimpel Fils London (working collaboratively with Mohini Chandra as Chandra+Stewart, 2014); The History of Now, F/STOP Fotografie Festival Leipzig (2012); and Darkside II, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (2009). His work is held in public and private collections including the Victoria & Albert Museum’s permanent collection in London and the Martin Z. Marguiles collection in Miami. He has exhibited work at Frieze London, The Armory Show in New York and at ARCO in Madrid. Gimpel Fils in London represents his work.

Christopher’s visual work is featured in a number of important survey publications such as The Photograph as Contemporary Art, Thames and Hudson World of Art Series, 2004, 2009 & 2014; 100 European Photographers, EXIT, Madrid, 2014; The Critical Dictionary, Black Dog, London, 2011; and Michael Langford’s Basic Photography, Focal Press 2009.

His curated exhibitions include Staging Disorder for the University of the Arts London (2015), co-curated with Esther Teichmann, and included the work of Chanarin & Broomberg, An-My , Geissler/Sann, Claudio Hils, Richard Mosse, Sarah Pickering and his own work. The accompanying book published by Black Dog Publishing London includes essays by Christopher, David Campany, Howard Caygill, Jennifer Good, Adam Jasper, Alexandra Stara and Esther Teichmann. His essays on photography and art include the catalogue essay Photography in Pieces for Hijacked, Kehrer-Verlag 2012, and From Periphery to Centre and Back Again for Great Expectations: Photography From Britain, Krakow International Photomonth, 2010.

Christopher regularly guest lectures and presents at conferences including recently at the First UNESCO Conference on Anticipation at the University of Trento in Italy (2015), University of the Arts London (2015), the Royal College of Art (2015), California College of Art in San Francisco (2012) and for the Surveillance and Everyday Life conference held at Sydney Law School, the University of Sydney (2012).

His previous academic positions include Principal Lecturer and the inaugural head of Photography, Moving Image and Sound (PMS) at the University of Brighton in the UK, an academic area that contained nine undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs. In London he jointly coordinated the New York University Tisch School of Art Photography Program. From 2008 he was Associate Professor in Photography at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Melbourne.

Image of Christopher Stewart
Associate Professor, School of Design
Bachelor of Arts (Hons) (WSCAD), Master of Arts, Photography, Royal College of Art (MA RCA)
 
Phone
+61 2 9514 8502

Research Interests

Photography, photography and conflict, photography and the city and photographic history and theory.

Photography

Chapters

Stewart, C. 2015, 'Staging Disorder' in Stewart, C. & Teichmann, E. (eds), Staging Disorder, Black Dog Pub Limited, http://www.blackdogonline.com/, pp. 8-13.
Staging Disorder considers the contemporary representation of the real in relation to photography, architecture and modern conflict. The book includes selected images from seven photographic series that were made independently of each other - Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin's Chicago, Beate Geissler & Oliver Sans' personal kill, Claudio Hils' Red Land Blue Land, An-My Lê's 29 Palms, Richard Mosse's Airside, Sarah Pickering's Public Order and Christopher Stewart's Kill House. The portrayal by these artists of mock domestic rooms, aircraft, houses, streets and whole fake towns designed as military and civilian architectural simulations in preparation for real and imagined future conflicts in different parts of the globe provoke a series of questions concerning the nature of truth as it manifests itself in contemporary photographic practice. In capturing an already constructed reality - the images in all seven projects are ostensibly documentary images of something real that has in itself been artfully staged to mimic a disordered reality – the works offer a meditation on the premeditated nature of modern conflict and an analysis of a unique form of architecture where form is predicated on fear rather than function.

Conferences

Stewart, C. 2015, '1st UNESCO Conference on Anticipation', PROVA 3, 1st UNESCO Conference on Anticipation, Royal College of Art, University of Trento, Italy.
Anticipatory Conflict considers the contemporary representation of the real in relation to photography, architecture and modern conflict. At a time when the two dominant photographic discourses in relation to the representation of conflict are either photojournalistic or aftermath photography, Anticipatory Conflict concentrates rather on the representation of the anticipatory in relation to conflict and the structures that are built to facilitate the training for the future of urban warfare. The presentation analyses selected images from seven photographic series that were made independently of each other in the first decade of the new millennium. The portrayal by these artists of mock domestic rooms, aircraft, houses, streets and whole fake towns designed as military and civilian architectural simulations, in preparation for real and imagined future conflicts in different parts of the globe, provoke a series of questions concerning the nature of truth as it manifests itself in current photographic and architectural practice in relation to modern conflict. In capturing an already constructed reality - the images in all seven projects are ostensibly documentary images of something real that has in itself been artfully staged to anticipate a future disordered reality – the works offer a meditation on the premeditated nature of modern conflict and an analysis of a unique form of architecture where form is predicated on fear rather than function. The concept of anticipating disorder in relationship to the images analysed looks not to how the photographers have staged disordered reality themselves, but rather to how these artists have recognised and responded to a phenomenon of staging and the anticipation of disorder that already exists in the world.
Stewart, C. 2012, 'Looking Back', Surveillance and/in Everyday Life, University of Sydney.
Looking Back was the title of a presentation that through the my creative works analysed the expansion of the global private security industry over a ten year period. The works presented have been shown in major international venues such as the Whitechapel Gallery in London and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and published in important survey publications such as the Thames and Hudson publication 'The Photograph as Contemporary Art. The University of Sydney's Surveillance and Everyday Life Research Group hosted a two-day international conference entitled, Surveillance and/in Everyday Life: Monitoring Pasts, Presents and Futures. The event was held in The University of Sydney's Law School Building and brought together key international scholars, policy makers, practitioners, artists and social commentators to discuss the social, cultural, historical, political, legal, economic and technical dimensions of surveillance. Few topics have greater contemporary public relevance and social significance than the increased monitoring and visibility of everyday living and the emergent surveillance capacities of new information communication technologies and organizational practices.

Non traditional outputs

Stewart, C. 2014, 'Insecurity, Super Border', 100 European Photographers, EXIT, Madrid.
Eight works
Stewart, C. 2012, 'Photography in Pieces', HIJACKED 3 - AUSTRALIA / UK, Kehrer Verlag, Germany, pp. 31-34.
Photography in Pieces was a critical essay that analysed current trends in contemporary photographic practice in Australia and the UK. The essay articulated and suggested reasons for the political and philosophical underpinnings behind a turn to a more fragmentary language in contemporary documentary photographic practice. Stewart was one of the invited authors asked to write about the context of the exhibition Hijacked 3, the third instalment of the ongoing pairing of Australian photographers with their international counterparts. Other writers included Daniel Palmer (co-author of the publication Twelve Australian Photo Artists, Piper Press 2009 and David Bate author of Photography, Berg 2009). The editors of the book and curators of the exhibition included Louise Clements who is the Artistic Director and Curator at QUAD, a visual arts and media centre in Derby UK, and the co-founder and Artistic Director/Curator of FORMAT International Photography Festival, Derby UK and Leigh Robb who has been the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art Curator since September 2009 and was prior to that Associate Director of Thomas Dane Gallery in London. The book was a substantial full-colour publication published by the German publisher Kehrer Verlag in partnership with Australian publisher Big City Press. The book and exhibition included internationally renowned photographic artists Petrina Hicks (winner of the 2014 Bowness Photography Prize), Sarah Pickering (who has exhibited at Tate Britain and other international venues), and Broomberg and Chanarin who have exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Stewart, C. 2012, 'Super Border', History of Now - f/stop Festival fur Fotografie Leipzig, Lubok Verlag, Leipzig, Germany, pp. 74-75.
Super Border is a series of photographic images taken along the route of the new 300 million euro Integrated External Vigilance System, a new surveillance system located along the southern Mediterranean coast and designed to curb illegal immigration into Europe. Stewart took photographs of sites along this coastline that included both heavy industry and tourism. The idea was to look at how the new surveillance system had been embedded within the fabric of the everyday and how these sites are no longer thought of as extraordinary. The work was published in the 156 full colour catalogue to accompany the international f/stop photography festival in Leipzig, Germany. Aspects of Super Border have also been featured in a solo exhibition at Gimpel Fils in London in 2009; the book The Critical Dictionary, published by Black Dog London in 2011 (ISBN 978-1907317491); published as a ten-page spread in the UK's primary art photography magazine Source Photographic Review issue 56 in the Autumn of 2008; and in 2012 featured in the international f/stop Fotografie Festival in Leipzig, Germany whose overall title was The History of Now.
Stewart, C. 2011, 'Super Border', The Critical Dictionary, Black Dog Publishing, London, pp. 18-23.
Super Border is a series of photographic images taken along the route of the new 300 million euro Integrated External Vigilance System, a new surveillance system located along the southern Mediterranean coast and designed to curb illegal immigration into Europe. Stewart took photographs of sites along this coastline that included both heavy industry and tourism. The idea was to look at how the new surveillance system had been embedded within the fabric of the everyday and how these sites are no longer thought of as extraordinary. Super Border has also been featured as a ten-page spread in the UK's primary art photography magazine Source Photographic Review issue 56 in the Autumn of 2008 and in 2012 featured in the international f/stop Fotografie Festival in Leipzig, Germany whose overall title was The History of Now. f/stop also published a substantial catalogue that included Super Border alongside other internationally renowned photographic practitioners such as Chanarin and Broomberg (winners of the 2013 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize). Super Border was also exhibited as a solo exhibition at Gimpel Fils in London in 2009.
Stewart, C. 2011, 'Super Border', Critical Dictionary, Black Dog Pub Limited, London, pp. 18-23.
The title alludes to the mock dictionary that philosopher Georges Bataille edited for Documents in 1929 and 1930. Like this famous precedent, Critical Dictionary aims to puncture pretension, bringing words and their referents down to earth.
Stewart, C. 2009, 'Australia (from the Insecurity series)', Darkside II: Power and Violence, Disease and Death Photographed, Fotomuseum Winterthur/Steidl, Gottingen, Germany, pp. 141-141.
The photograph 'Australia' from the Insecurity series was published in the substantial 368 page full-colour hard-back monograph to accompany the exhibition of the same title. The book was co-published between the Fotomuseum Winterthur and Steidl Press. Urs Stahel edited and curated the book and exhibition and he along with the Fotomuseum is regarded as one of the most important photography curators and museums internationally. The publication included many important contemporary and historical photographic practitioners including Nan Goldin, Walker Evans, August Sander, Cindy Sherman, Christian Boltanski, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Sophie Calle in an exhibition whose thematic was the photographing of "Power, Violence, Disease and Death". The work exhibited in the exhibition is part of the photographic series Insecurity which itself has been exhibited in many locations including at the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television UK and the Whitechapel Galery in London.
Stewart, C. 2009, 'United States of America (from the Insecurity series)', The Photograph as Contemporary Art, Thames and Hudson, London, pp. 70-70.
The Photograph as Contemporary Art is part of the World of Art series and is an authoritative publication on the most important contemporary photographic art being made globally. The nearly 250 photographers whose work is reproduced in the book range from Jeff Wall, Sophie Calle, Thomas Demand, through to Nan Goldin. The book was first published in 2004 (1st edition) and most recently as an updated 3rd edition in 2014. 'United States of America' is part of an extensive series of photographs that documents the growth of private military and security internationally and has been shown in numerous venues including at the Fotomuseum Winterthur, the Whitechapel Gallery in London, the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television (now The National Media Museum) and other locations. It is also included in other publications such as Michael Langford's seminal Focal Press publication 'Basic Photography' (9th edition) and the recently published 100 European Photographers book published in Madrid in 2014 that also contains the work of such photographers as Thomas Demand, Rineke Dijkstra ,Paul Graham, Andreas Gursky, Loretta Lux, Martin Parr, and Wolfgang Tillmans.
Stewart, C. 2008, 'Super Border', Source Photographic Review, Photo Works North, Belfast, pp. 24-35.
Super Border is a series of photographic images taken along the route of the new 300 million euro Integrated External Vigilance System, a new surveillance system located along the southern Mediterranean coast and designed to curb illegal immigration into Europe. Stewart took photographs of sites along this coastline that included both heavy industry and tourism. The idea was to look at how the new surveillance system had been embedded within the fabric of the everyday and how these sites are no longer thought of as extraordinary. Source Photographic Review is one of the UK's most important art photography journals and regularly includes the work of nationally and internationally important photographic artists. Aspects of Super Border have also been featured in the book The Critical Dictionary, published by Black Dog London in 2011 (ISBN 978-1907317491), and in 2012 featured in the international f/stop Fotografie Festival in Leipzig, Germany whose overall title was The History of Now. f/stop also published a substantial catalogue that included Super Border alongside other internationally renowned photographic practitioners such as Chanarin and Broomberg (winners of the 2013 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize).
Stewart, C., 'Insecurity', Surveilance, Gimpel Fils Gallery - www.gimpelfils.com, Gimpel Fils Gallery London.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Surveillance was a two-person exhibition at Gimpel Fils in London. This exhibition was a timely look at how artists have responded to the psychological and political impact of the world-wide growth of surveillance and private security. Christopher Stewart's contribution to this exhibition was five large-scale photographic prints from his Insecurity series that were taken in different parts of the world, including in the USA and Australia. This work looked at the training preparations of private security personnel and larger private military companies and how these individuals and their activities fit within a rapidly expanding industry of surveillance and private security provision. That the act of preparation and training shown in the photographs often takes place in familiar city streets, motels, parking lots and shopping malls also highlights the everyday nature of the exhibitions thematic. Christopher Stewart's Insecurity series has been included in over forty solo and group exhibitions internationally including at Fotomuseum Winterthur, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television in Bradford and the Whitechapel Gallery in London and features in important survey publications such as The Photograph as Contemporary Art, Thames and Hudson World of Art Series (ed. Charlotte Cotton 2004 & 2009 - 978- 0500204184). Surveillance also included the work of Seamus Harahan, whose work jointly represented Ireland in the 51st Venice Biennale. Gimpel Fils also represents Australian artists Callum Morton (who represented Australia at the 2007 Venice Biennale) and Judy Watson (who represented Australia at the 1997 Venice Biennale).
Stewart, C., 'Super Border', Sea of Promise, f/stop Festival of Fotografie Leipzig, Germany, Spinnerei Archiv Massiv.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Christopher Stewart's Super Border was included in the international f/stop Fotografie Festival in Leipzig, Germany whose overall title was The History of Now. Super Border featured in the exhibition The Sea of Promise curated by Sebastian Arthur Hau from the Paris based public gallery Le Bal. The exhibition took the idea of borders, migration and globalization as a thematic and included work from a number of renowned photographic artists including, for example, Jim Goldberg of Magnum Photos. Super Border is a series of photographic images taken along the route of the new 300 million euro Integrated External Vigilance System, a new surveillance system located along the southern Mediterranean coast and designed to curb illegal immigration into Europe. Stewart took photographs of sites along this coastline including that included both heavy industry and tourism. The idea was to look at how the new surveillance system had been embedded within the fabric of the everyday and how these sites are no longer thought of as extraordinary. Aspects of Super Border had previously been featured in the book The Critical Dictionary, published by Black Dog London in 2011 (ISBN 978-1907317491), published as a ten-page spread in the important photographic magazine Source Photographic Review issue 56 in the Autumn of 2008 and featured in a solo-exhibition at Gimpel Fils gallery in London in 2009. The f/stop published a substantial catalogue that included Super Border alongside other internationally renowned photographic practitioners such as Chanarin and Broomberg (winners of the 2013 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize).
Stewart, C., 'United States of America (from the Insecurity series)', Something That I'll Never Really See, The Victoria & Albert Museum, The Herbert gallery Coventry UK.
The work 'Australia' from the Insecurity series was shown at the Herbert Gallery in Newcastle ans was a group touring exhibition from the photography collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The exhibition included work from international artists including Cindy Sherman, David Hockney, and Nan Goldin. The Herbert, Coventry's award winning museum and art gallery, celebrates the city's culture, history and arts. A registered educational charity, situated at the heart of the city centre, the Herbert is also Coventry's creative media centre and history centre. It brings under one roof the unique heritage and creative aspiration of one of Britains most historic cities. The Herbert has increased its audience to 340,000 visitors per year. Working in partnership across the museum and arts sector regionally, nationally and internationally, it uses its collections and exhibitions to engage with families and intergenerational audiences. A national exemplar of good practice, the Herbert won the Guardian Kids in Museums Family Friendly Award in 2010 and is a holder of the coveted Sandford Award for quality in Heritage Education. The Herbert is also able to support young people undertaking the Arts Council's Arts Award.
Stewart, C., 'Australia - Darkside II Exhibition', Darkside II: Photographic Power and Violence, Disease and Death Photographed, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The large-scale photograph Australia from the Insecurity series was included in the exhibition Darkside II: Power, Violence, Disease and Death Photographed at Fotomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland . The museums Director Urs Stahel curated the exhibition and he along with Fotomuseum is regarded as one of the most important photography museums in the world. The exhibition included many important photographic practitioners including Nan Goldin, Walker Evans, August Sander, Cindy Sherman, Christian Boltanski, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Sophie Calle. A substantial 368-page full-colour hardback monograph including Stewarts work was published by the preeminent photographic publisher Steidl to accompany the exhibition. The work belongs to a wider group of documentary photographs taken internationally and the Australia section includes photographs of private security personnel training. Private security is a modern service industry that has grown exponentially in recent years and it is a little documented culture. Stewart has spent years developing his contacts within this secretive world and the resulting work is a rare glimpse of an industry which is usually closed to outside scrutiny. In looking at the construction of training scenarios the work also highlights the slippery notion of what is real in relationship to documentary photography as the `reality Stewart photographs are orchestrated but not by the photographer himself. The work therefore has also contributed to debates about photography itself and has been widely exhibited and published including at the UKs National Museum of Photography, Film and Television and the Whitechapel Gallery in London.
Stewart, C., 'United States of America (from the Insecurity series)', Something That I'll Never Really See, Victoria & Albert Museum London, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle UK.
The work 'Australia' from the Insecurity series was shown at the Hatton gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne and was a group touring exhibition from the photography collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The exhibition included work from international artists including Cindy Sherman, David Hockney, and Nan Goldin. The Hatton stages a highly-regarded programme of historical, modern and contemporary art exhibitions. Over recent years this programme has included major historical monographs, diverse partnership projects and exciting new commissions from leading contemporary artists. On permanent display is Kurt Schwitters Merzbarn, considered by many to be one of the seminal artworks of the twentieth century. The Hattons permanent collection comprises over 3,500 works, ranging from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. Artists represented in the collection include such diverse and important artists as Francis Bacon, Walter Sickert, Tiburzio Passarotti, John Martin, Patrick Heron, William Roberts, Richard Ansdell, Richard Hamilton and John Graham Lough. The Hatton Gallery also runs a learning programme involving schools, individuals and community groups.
Stewart, C., 'Insecurity', Splitting in Two, Gimpel Fils gallery London, Gimpel Fils London.
Splitting in Two was a group exhibition of lens-based artists and explored various states of disquiet, anxiety, and tension. The exhibition brought together a group of artists who engage with states of hostility and conflict in order to consider the various strategies available to artists who want to address the darker side of human life. Made over a period of 16 years the works in this exhibition point to a range of ways of dealing with difficult situations, from the elliptical to the direct. The voracity of conflict images in our news-saturated daily lives and their psychological effect are investigated through the use of found imagery, documentary, archival, and staged photography. The exhibition included the work of Corinne Day, John Duncan, Seamus Harahan, Sarah Dobai', Andrea Fisher, Peter Kennard. Christopher Stewart's photographs of security training grounds suggest the presence of others watching us, pointing to the activity of surveillance and the power relations between the watched and the watcher. His work, Insecurity, has been exhinited and published extensively including at the Whitechapel gallery in London and the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford.
Stewart, C., 'Super Border', Super Border, Gimpel Fils London, Gimpel Fils London.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Super Border is a series of photographic images taken along the route of the new 300 million euro Integrated External Vigilance System, a new surveillance system located along the southern Mediterranean coast and designed to curb illegal immigration into Europe. Stewart took photographs of sites along this coastline that included both heavy industry and tourism. The idea was to look at how the new surveillance system had been embedded within the fabric of the everyday and how these sites are no longer thought of as extraordinary. Aspects of Super Border have also been featured in the book The Critical Dictionary, published by Black Dog London in 2011 (ISBN 978-1907317491), published as a ten-page spread in the UK's primary art photography magazine Source Photographic Review issue 56 in the Autumn of 2008 and in 2012 featured in the international f/stop Fotografie Festival in Leipzig, Germany whose overall title was The History of Now. f/stop also published a substantial catalogue that included Super Border alongside other internationally renowned photographic practitioners such as Chanarin and Broomberg (winners of the 2013 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize).
Stewart, C. & Teichmann, E., 'Staging Disorder', University of the Arts London, Studio Hato and University of the Arts.
University gallery
Stewart, C. & Chandra, M., 'Dark Pacific Sun', Dark Pacific Sun, Gimpel Fils London.
Stewart, C. & Chandra, M., 'Most people were silent (00:15:03 | 01-01-15)', Josephine Ulrike and Wyn Schubert Photography Award, Arts Centre Gold Coast, Queensland, The Arts Centre Gold Coast, Queensland.
Stewart, C., 'Most people were silent, 21:11:19 | 31-12-14', Chippendale New World Art Prize Exhibition, X88 Gallery, Chippendale.
Stewart, C., 'Kill House', Staging Disorder, Black Dog Publishing, University of the Arts London.
Stewart, C., 'From Periphery to Centre and Back Again', Krakow Photomonth, Miesiac Fotografii W Krakowie Maj 2010.
International photography festival exhibition catalogue
Stewart, C., 'Kill House', Theatres of War, Krakow Photomonth, Schindler Factory, Krakow, Poland.
Stewart, C., 'Insecurity', Photography Since 1970, Gimpel Fils London.