Bruce Clarke's Portrait, 2014

Bruce Clarke

United Kingdom 1959

Photography, Painting, Collage

Bruce Clarke
Bruce Clarke
United Kingdom
April 26, 2016

Bruce Clarke is a British photographer and visual artist whose projects reflect on various aspects of the contemporary history. He is particularly interested in socially engaged art, which is capable of producing stimulative, proactive reactions in people. Clarke doesn’t want to be just a bystander in the face of history – instead of being a quiet observer, he feels a strong desire to actively participate in the making of the history and he achieves that through his powerful art which is inspired by the current socio-political conditions.

Bruce Clarke - The Naked and the Dead, 2013
Bruce Clarke – The Naked and the Dead, 2013

Crossroads of Philosophy and Art

Clarke was born in London in the late 50s. He studied fine arts at the Leeds University in Great Britain, at the time when the dominant artistic direction was the conceptual art movement. This movement was an interesting blend of philosophy, logic, and art theory. The artists who belonged to this movement  investigated the relationship between art, language and the nature of reality through various forms of artistic and political projects. Because of this influence, the very essence of Bruce Clarke’s work are political and language topics and their manifestation in the world of art. Even nowadays, Clarke’s art is inseparable from his political activism, especially when it comes to the anti-apartheid movement in France. He also works on several cultural projects in South Africa – the main one is the collaboration with the Afrika Cultural Centre in Johannesburg. Clarke is an active photographer as well and he has published many reportages on South Africa and the return of Liberian refugees.

Even nowadays, Clarke’s art is inseparable from his political activism

Bruce Clarke - D'économie (Of economy), 2014
Bruce Clarke – D’économie (Of economy), 2014

Sea Ghosts

Fantômes de la Mer (Sea Ghosts) is Clarke’s newest project from 2016, dedicated to the victims of trans-Mediterranean human trafficking. Clarke uses his signature technique of combining watercolors, collage, and photomontage in order to create mesmerizing anonymous portraits  It is known that many people have gone missing in the Mediterranean area as victims of human trafficking. They were simply looking for better life, for economic, political and existential security, which are the basic human rights. However, their plight was ignored because of the omnipresent practice of turning a blind eye to other people’s the misery and poverty. Nowadays, because of the Syrian refugee crisis, our awareness of the trans-Mediterranean migration got increased and we accepted the fact this migration and consequent trafficking are the long-term phenomenon that needs to get resolved. Clarke’s dramatic artworks that pay homage to the victims of trafficking are successful at spreading the awareness about this and other related  issues such as sacrifice, loss, and racism.

Clarke’s newest project is dedicated to the victims of trans-Mediterranean human trafficking

Left - Bruce Clarke - Fantome 1, 2016 - Mid - Bruce Clarke - Fantome 11, 2016 - Right - Bruce Clarke - Fantone 6, 2016
Left: Bruce Clarke – Fantome 1, 2016 / Mid: Bruce Clarke – Fantome 11, 2016 / Right: Bruce Clarke – Fantome 6, 2016

Political Involvement in Visual Arts

Being a long-term activist in the anti-apartheid and anti-racist battle, Clarke is perpetually integrating political issues into his visual self-expression. His meaningful and humane work has been exhibited internationally since 1989 and he has created even several posters for movies, such as Fools from 1997, Edvard Munch from 2004 and Retour à Gorée from 2008, to name a few. He also started working on the creation of a memorial site near Kigali, the Garden of Memory, a monumental ongoing project since 2000, together with survivors’ families, Rwandese institutions, and UNESCO. Clarke also made a large-scale mural project for the 20th commemoration of the genocide in 2014 named Upright Men in Rwanda but also worldwide – in Ouidah, Benin, Lausanne, Geneva, and Paris, to name a few cities.

The artist is represented by Galerie Galea.

Bruce Clarke lives and works in Paris, France.

Featured image: Bruce Clarke’s Portrait, 2014
All images courtesy of the artist.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016Fantomes de la MerFrench Institute Nouakchott, Mauritania Solo
2016Fantomes de la MerCICAD, Biennale de Dakar Off, Dakar, SenegalGroup
2016Homage to Dakar BiennaleManoir de Martigny, SwitzerlandGroup
2015       Daily ViolenceMultimedia space, Lormont, FranceSolo
2015       Upright MenMultimedia space, André Malraux, Strasbourg, FranceSolo
2015KouvitoLe Centre, Arts et Culture, Cotonou, BeninGroup
2015Africans, AfricansMuseu Afro Brasil, Sao Paolo, BrazilGroup
2015Global Topic sArtCo Gallery, Aachen, GermanyGroup
2014  En toute impunitéLes Naufragés du Temps, St Malo, FranceSolo
2014  Humanities  Gallery Out of Africa, Sitges, Barcelona, SpainSolo
2014FNB ContemporaryJohannesburg, South AfricaGroup
2013Precarious LivesGalerie Julio Gonzalez, Arcueil, FranceSolo
2013Etonnants VoyageursFestival Saint-Malo, FranceSolo
2013Bruce ClarkeJanus Gallery , Montreux, SwitzerlandSolo
2013Bruce ClarkeM.I.A Gallery , Seattle, USASolo
2013Etonnants Voyageurs  Festival, Saint-Malo, FranceGroup
2012Bruce ClarkeFondation Zinsou , BeninSolo
2012Bruce ClarkeArtium Gallery , LuxemburgSolo
2012Iwalewa HausBayreuth, GermanyGroup
2012Boxe, Boxe !  Fondation Blachère, Apt, FranceGroup
2011Who's Afraid Musee des Arts Derniers, ParisSolo
2010Bruce ClarkeNeumünster Abbey , LuxemburgSolo
2010Bruce ClarkeArtium Gallery , LuxemburgSolo
2010Bruce ClarkeBekris Gallery , San Francisco, United StatesSolo
2010Bruce ClarkeGalerie St Pierre , Limoges, FranceSolo
2010Bruce ClarkeCouleur Cafe , Bruxelles BelgiumGroup
2009Bruce ClarkeMusee des Arts Derniers, ParisSolo
2009Bruce ClarkeBook Faire,  Geneva, SwitzerlandSolo
2009Bruce ClarkeFestival Africajarc , FranceGroup
2008Bruce ClarkeCentral Library , Grenoble FrancSolo
2008Bruce ClarkeUniversity Fine Arts School  (IUFM), Rennes FranceSolo
2008Bruce ClarkeGalerie des Arts Derniers , Paris, FranceGroup
2008Contemporary Art FaireEspace Pierre Berge , Bruxelles, BelgiumGroup
2007Bruce ClarkeGalerie Art et Paix , ParisSolo
2007Bruce ClarkeBiennale of Dar-es-Salaam , TanzaniaGroup
2006Bruce ClarkeMusee des Arts Derniers, ParisSolo
2006Dominated / Dominator  Gallery Arcima ; ParisSolo
2006Troubled IdentitiesFestival Plein Sud, Cozes, FranceSolo
2005Bruce ClarkeGallery Arret sur Image , Bordeaux, FranceSolo
2005Bruce ClarkeLa , Bruxelles, BelgiumGroup
2005Bruce ClarkeMusee des Arts Derniers , Paris, FranceGroup
2004Je vous ecris du Jardin de la Memoire St Louis, SenegalSolo
2004Bruce ClarkeGallery Les Naufrages du Temps , St Malo, FranceSolo
2004Bruce ClarkeGallery Ephemere , Montigny-le-Tilleul, BelgiumGroup
2003Je vous ecris du Jardin de la Memoire Espace 1789, St Ouen, FranceSolo
2003Bruce ClarkeGallery L’Essor , Le Sentier, SwitzerlandGroup
2002ResistancesFilm Festival, Thones, FranceSolo
2002Union des Arts PlastiquesSt Etienne de RouvrayGroup
2002Dak’artDakar Biennale, SenegalGroup
2001Bruce ClarkeCentre Remy Nainsouta , GuadeloupeSolo
2001Bruce ClarkeMusee d’Art et d’Histoire de Belfort , BelfortGroup
2000Je vous ecris du Jardin de la Memoire Gallery Porte 2a, BordeauxSolo
2000Bruce ClarkeChateau de St-Ouen , Saint-OuenSolo
1999Bruce ClarkeFrench Cultural Center , Kigali, RwandaSolo
1999Fragments d’HistoireGrenoble International, GrenobleSolo
1998Bruce ClarkeGallery Andre Roussard , ParisSolo
1998L'Artiste Face au RéelMaison de la Culture de la NievreGroup
1997Bruce ClarkeGallery Rayon vert , NantesSolo
1997Bruce ClarkeSouth African Embassy , ParisSolo
1997Bruce ClarkeMuseum of Romans , Romans, FranceSolo
1996Bruce ClarkeGallery Marina , Avignon, FranceSolo
1995AfricanitesGallery Saintonge, ParisGroup
1995art’CRAAccra, GhanaGroup
1994De l’Afrique a l’AfriqueGallery Yahia, TunisGroup
1992Un art d’engagementEcole Polytechnique, Massy-PalaiseauGroup
1991L’Art de l’EmigrationValence, SpainGroup