Performance and Q&A with the artist Benedict L Phillips
25 March 2023
1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Venue Leeds Art Gallery
Performance and Q&A with the artist Benedict L Phillips: How to be dyslexic/an A-Z of dyslexic ideas. Presented by The DIV In Black (The Anarchist).
Explore the dyslexic universe of artist Benedict L Phillips, guided by his alter ego ‘The DIV’ as he presents an A to Z of dyslexic ideas. This event explores and questions notions about normality and neurodiversity. Benedict’s installation of sculptural objects, selected for the Leeds Artists Show 2023, will be activated by ‘The DIV’ as part of this performance event.
This gathering of witnesses will take place upstairs in the gallery’s Central Court space. The work may be a provocation or a call to arms generated through rituals utilising sculpture, actions and spoken word, resulting in a limited edition artwork. Attendees will be invited to purchase the artefact produced (optional) as part of the performance. All actions will be carried out by The DIV in Black (The Anarchist) who will also deliver a reading from A Benedictionary, the world’s first and only true dyslexic translation dictionary.
The performance will last around 45 minutes, after which there will be a Q&A session with the artist in the same space. This will be a rare opportunity to discover more about the secret symbols and objects that have been constructed by the artist over the past 30 years to help him communicate and explore notions of the alternative perspective.
Please note: This is a standing performance – seating can be made available on request on the day or in advance by emailing [email protected]
Background to the work:
In September 1995, Benedict’s activist manifesto ‘Agenda of the Agresiv Dislecksick’ was published in Disability Arts in London magazine. At the time of its publication, dyslexia was commonly understood as a childhood disease that affected reading and writing. Benedict rejected almost all of society’s interpretations of what it meant to be dyslexic, instead building upon the position that he is in fact ‘very, very, good at being dyslexic.’ Despite being in a special educational dyslexia unit from the age of 9, the severity of Benedict’s dyslexia meant that he left school at 16 almost completely unable to read. Benedict wrote the ‘Agenda of the Agresiv Dislecksick’ at 25, after he came to the conclusion that acceptance and celebration was the only way he would be able to continue to live his life.
About the artist
Benedict Phillips is an established artist, mentor and consultant. His practice is eclectic, encompassing a broad range of methodologies, generating work as diverse as public art, performance, photography, and media art. He is particularly concerned with the on-going interrelationship and shifting hierarchy between photography, sculpture and performance within his practice, and the aesthetics of each approach. Exploiting historical production processes as well as more recent digitally driven approaches informs the making of much of his work. Dependent upon the geography of the project, Benedict’s responses have been floated, buried, placed, flown and exhibited. In 2021 Benedict had a major survey of his ‘Dislecksick projects’ at Gallery Oldham. He has exhibited and presented his work in galleries in the UK and US, including V&A, Kunsthalle, Bern, Switzerland and Impressions Gallery, UK. As well as delivering public art projects across the UK for a wide variety of clients including NHS, city councils and public Art agencies. Benedict’s artworks are included in major collections such as the V&A and Tate in London.