David Birkin

David Birkin, Pietà, 2012, AP wire-photo overlaid with Afghan lapis lazuli, 7 x 8 inches

About the work

Based in New York, David Birkin studied anthropology at Oxford, fine art at the Slade, and was a fellow of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. Using performance, photography, and text, much of Birkin’s work reflects on the way war is depicted: its mythology, iconography, and the language and legal frameworks that underpin it. Past projects include a collaboration with the courtroom sketch artist at the Guantánamo military tribunals; a photographic transcription of identification numbers from the Iraqi civilian casualties database; an extract of CIA legalese in skywriting above Manhattan; and an aeroplane banner circling the Statue of Liberty’s torch. He is currently working on a video for the human rights organisation Reprieve.

About the artist

Birkin has written on the ethics and aesthetics of conflict for Frieze; Cabinet; Creative Time Reports; Ibraaz; Disegno; The Harvard Advocate; and the American Civil Liberties Union. He has given talks at Oxford University’s Institute for Ethics, Law & Armed Conflict, University of the Arts London, the Imperial War Museum, Culture + Conflict, and Queens College, New York, and was an artist-in-residence at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Birkin has exhibited internationally, most recently at Fotomuseum, Antwerp; Mudam, Luxembourg; the Benaki Museum, Athens; and The Mosaic Rooms, London. He also assists the artist Martha Rosler.