School of Arts and Cultures

Staff Profiles

Professor Jane Wilson

Professor of Fine Art


Jane Wilson has been working as an artist duo in collaboration with her twin sister Louise Wilson for over two decades. Graduating in the 1989 with a joint degree show in Dundee and Newcastle then as postgraduate in a working collaboration from Goldsmiths College in 1992.

They have since 1990 gained a national and international reputation as artists working with photography and the moving image, installation in an expanded form of cinema and lens based media.

Recently they completed a new commission for the Imperial War Museum, London which opened in October 2014 – January 2015 and which will tour to MIMA, Middlesbrough and Wolverhampton Art Gallery 2016.

Their research was primarily at the Imperial War Museum archive, looking specifically at archive images of early surveillance and camouflage techniques employed during the WWI. The completed film installation “Undead Sun” 2014, was commissioned by the Arts Council of England and the Imperial War Museum, to mark the Centenary of the First World War.

Building on my longstanding interest in the technology and architecture of conflict, the film explores perspectives on visibility, technology and the reconstruction of narratives about that period.

The film blends animation, historical photography and staged scenes to underscore the paradoxical relationship between warfare and technological progress, emphasizing the evolving surveillance and propaganda programs of World War I.


Their early works centred on abandoned buildings, often imbued with the presence and ideology of the original occupants. Through carefully choreographed film installations, sound works and photography they have explored some of Europe’s least accessible sites including a former Stasi Prison in former East Berlin, the British Houses of Parliament and the huge Star City complex in Moscow, a key site of the Russian Space Programme.

In 1999 they were nominated for The Turner Prize for their multi-screen installation Gamma, that was on show in 2015 at The Schaulager Museum, Basel, in the exhibition FUTURE/PRESENT.


Their photographic series the Sealander works, taken along the Normandy coastline, of the bunkers that formed part of The Atlantic Wall were recently on show at Museum Folkwang Essen, the exhibition was titled ‘Conflict, Time, Photography’ which toured from Tate Modern. And there most recent projects include a two person exhibition at MIMA, Middlesbrough Oct 2016- Jan 2017, and a presentation of photographs, sculpture and video from the Sealander series of works at The J Paul Getty Museum, LA Feb-July 2017. Future projects will include a presentation at Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York in 2018 and Gapado AiR, an artist residency in Korea in Spring 2018.


The Wilson sisters have had held exhibitions in the UK and internationally in places such as Kazakhstan, the USA, Canada, Japan and all over Europe. They have also exhibited widely in international group shows, including the Carnegie International (1999), Korean Biennial (2000), Istanbul Biennial (2001), Moving Pictures at the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao (2003), Remind at the Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2003), and Out of Time at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2006), 2010“Suspending Time”, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal 2010-11 Tempo Suspenso , CGAC, Santiago de Compostela,  Sharjah Biennial (2011), 2012-13 'The Toxic Camera ' The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, "Ruin Lust" Tate Britain( 2014), "Conflict, Time and Photography" Tate Modern.


Jane is a board member of DACS and honorary Visiting Professor of Fine Art at the University of Wolverhampton.


Personal Research Plan

Name of Researcher

Jane Wilson

Name of Reviewer



Fine Art

Subject/Research Group


Last research leave dates


Planned research leave dates


Academic Year


Date of completion


A                                                                                     Research Projects

                                                                                        (including funding)

Current Projects


Please give details of live projects including source and amount of funding (if funded), collaborators, start date, anticipated end date and associated PGRs, anticipated impacts



GAPADO AiR (Artist in Residence) Gapado Island

South Korea.






GAPADO AiR, Artist Residency -South Korea, March-May 2018

Amount of Funding: Support from Hyundai Card Management $ 700.00 USD (KRW 7million) and self-funded.

Source of Funding: Hyundai Card, Hyundai Capital Brand Management.

Collaborators: NA

Start Date: March 2018

Anticipated End Date: May 2018

Associated PGRs: NA


I have been invited on a 3 month, residency in the Southern island called Gappado part of the self- governing Jeju Province run by Hyundai Card who support The Tate Gallery’s photographic exhibitions and Turbine Hall Commissions. We were nominated by Dr Sook-Kyung Lee, Senior Research Curator, Tate Research Centre: Asia. 

The other jury members were from MoMA and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Korea the final selection was of 16 artists.

Each artist will be provided an Individual studio: there will be a visiting Curator Program: review session and seminar with curators from global museums and galleries.

Seoul and Jeju Island Field Trip: Visit to major cultural and art spots around Seoul and Jeju Island (free participation fee, hotel provided)

Support for Exhibition: support for arranging exhibition space in Gapado, Jeju mainland and Seoul.



The Jeju group of islands is an archipelago that includes Gapado Island. These islands co-exist within an interconnected archipelago that also includes Jeju-do Island, once a former site of brutal conflict and military history.

I am particularly interested in what happens when a place with such remoteness and inaccessibility relinquishes control, whether this be to the forces of nature and the environment or to external forces such as military fortification and occupation it becomes a place in which subsequently time and ideology are liberated; a Demilitarized Zone a buffer in face of the ‘’unknown’’.

To the south, there is a maritime and territorial conflict in the East China Sea and the South China Sea between China on the one side and Vietnam and the Philippines in the other.

In the midst of these zones of conflict sits, Jeju which is in the process of becoming a Carbon-free Island the ultimate paradox.

During the Gapado AIR residency I plan to make a period of research on the island. Working with photography, digital 3-D stills and video. I also want to work with an analogue medium format camera using wide angle, prism, borescope and periscope lenses to capture the site and to imagine the ‘site’, its reach beyond the coastal and its liminal proximity in order to realize a new body of large scale photographic works.

 I plan to spend part of our time during the residency in Seoul where I will make connections with the arts communities based there. In particular, with the arts and humanities department at Seoul National University the staff and students there, as well as the many important and dynamic contemporary art galleries and museums in the region.



Planned Future Projects (Title)

Please give details of potential funding source, collaborators, anticipated submission date/projected start date



Suspended Island’ (June 2018-Sept. 2018)



Suspended Island June – Sept 2018

Amount of Funding:  £50,000.00 funding from the  BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead.

Source of Funding:  National Lottery, Heritage and Lottery Fund.

Collaborators:  GEON (Great Exhibition of the North) The BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead.

Start Date: June -2018                                                                                        

Anticipated End Date: September- 2018

Associated PGRs: NA


A new commission for a publicly sited artwork on Newcastle Quayside in collaboration with the Baltic Center for Contemporary Art as part of GEON (Great Exhibition of the North).

We want to expand upon the view of a Suspended Island, one which hints at the current political flux and the perception of the North East; closer to Scotland but still remaining part of England, some might argue, as another island within the island of Great Britain. We want to propose that we create a publicly sited video installation, on the quayside as a point of departure, which also hints at the current state of Britain at this moment of BREXIT.

We are particularly interested in what happens when the geography of a location takes on a porous identity, or becomes a place outside its own border. It is this idea of "the suspended island" that we are trying to impress upon the viewer the presence of absence, revealing on one hand a lost urban geography that most people won't see and on the other exploring through moving image the kinetic relationship between the architecture of two distinct sites one still historically visible in the form of Trinity House and the other obsolete in the form of the now abandoned coastal fortifications that once functioned on Governors Island, situated off the coast of Manhattan.

Incorporating a voice over narrative for the film based upon a series of interviews with refugees from Bosnia, Kurdistan, Ukraine and Democratic Republic of the Congo that we recorded at a refugee drop in centre in Derby.

We propose to show this moving image work on an outdoor LED screen. The film will include both new and existing footage as well as a new animation.

We propose to show alongside the LED screen a platform or viewing area, this structure would comprise of two architectural reclaimed diving board platforms, minus their boards as an acknowledgement of their dysfunction. The structures suggest a kind of suspension and at the same time register the sense of misplaced nostalgia for a lost urban geography within an island mentality.





Support Required



B                                                                                      Publications from 01/01/14

(Journal articles, chapters, authored and edited books, creative outputs and other major research outputs only)

Published (since 01/01/14)

Please give details of title, location, type and peer review score


‘Undead Sun’ Imperial War Museum, London MIMA, Middlesbrough, Wolverhampton City Art Gallery, Wolverhampton.

(Oct 2014- Autumn 2018)



















‘We Put the World Before You’

MIMA, Middlesbrough

(Oct 2016- Autumn 2018)


















‘Sealander’ Focus Gallery, J. Paul Getty Museum, Loss Angeles

(Feb 2017- July 2017)


































-Ruin Lust, Tate Publishing 2014.



-Conflict, Time, Photography’ Tate Publishing 2014.














-Future Present

The Collection of the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation- 2015.




-Blind Landings - Material Memory, paper by Jane and Louise Wilson to be published in Material Memory The Post Industrial Landscape as Site for Creative Practice 2016.



-Art of Collaboration: Phaidon 2017.

‘Undead Sun’ 2014

Amount of Funding:  £30,000.00 funding from ACE Arts Council of England.

Source of Funding:  A.C.E  Arts Council of England.

Collaborators: Film and Video Umbrella, Imperial War Museum, MIMA Middlesbrough and Wolverhampton City Art Gallery.

Start Date: October 2014

Anticipated End Date: Autumn- 2018

Associated PGRs: NA


‘Undead Sun’ 2014, video, 12 mins 39seconds, gauze cube, gauze wall elements and vertical gauze Fins. “Undead Sun” was commissioned to mark the Centenary of the First World War. The work explores perspectives on visibility, technology, camouflage and the reconstruction of narratives surrounding the conflict.

Much of the imagery in the film is inspired by the visual culture of the period. Uneasy, dream-like sequences are acted out against the ominous backdrop of a giant wind tunnel. These staged vignettes offer glimpses of individual, human-scale dramas, as well as intimations of the darker side of the society of the time. The film concludes by referencing a First World War account of an un-named conscientious objector, stripping naked and shredding the uniform that he had been forced to wear. It alludes not only to the First World War, but to protests against subsequent wars.The film was selected for the Rotterdam Film Festival where it received its cinema premiere in 2015.  

In order to highlight the hidden and the concealed. The film was presented within a specially constructed architectural setting, in which the viewer’s own lines of sight are directed, and partially obstructed by screens of gauze. Many sequences were based on my extensive research in the Imperial War Museums’ (IWM) archives in London and in Duxford and in the FAST museum archives of wind flow research, at Farnborough air base. Inspired by archive photographs and artefacts, and by diary entries and personal testimonies, the piece reflects on the visceral, elemental forces that the war unleashed. I filmed on location in the Wind Tunnels at Farnborough Air Field, I cast the performers from unknown actors based in London. Much of the voice over script was based on ‘C’ by Tom McCarthy, published by Jonathan Cape in 2010 with some quotes from 'Hide and Seek: Camouflage, Photography, and the Media of Reconnaissance' by Hanna Rose Shell, published by Zone Books in 2012.

I wanted the film to blend animation, historical photography and staged scenes to underscore the paradoxical relationship between warfare and technological progress, emphasizing the evolving surveillance programme of World War I, as a precursor to current day drone technology.

‘We Put the World Before You’,  2016-17

Amount of Funding:  £40,000.00 funding.

Source of Funding:  Wellcome Trust Small Arts Award.

Collaborators: FaceLab, Liverpool John Moores University, Professor Caroline Wilkinson, Professor Iain Hutchison, The Wellcome Trust Archive,  Film and Video Umbrella, Imperial War Museum, MIMA Middlesbrough and Wolverhampton City Art Gallery.

Start Date: October 2016

Anticipated End Date: Autumn- 2018

Associated PGRs: NA


‘We Put the World Before You’,  2016 In this recent single-channel video installation, I examined the origins of modern plastic surgery and the surgical innovations that were deployed to treat the horrendous facial wounds that combatants suffered during in the WWI conflict. Consulting  with Professor Iain Hutchison (a practicing surgeon specialising in facial reconstruction), and Professor Caroline Wilkinson (a forensic anthropologist who uses computer techniques to restore facial likenesses to people who have remained invisible or gone unrepresented), I compiled a patchwork of newly filmed and historical footage, including rare material from medical archives. The title of the piece alludes to the championing work of the early cinema pioneer Charles Urban, who used micro-photographic techniques to make the unseen marvels of the natural world visible (and entertaining) to the viewing public. These multiple layers of archive material were supplemented by two key scenes. The first of these involved computer graphic sequences of my own face materialising after being 3D scanned. And as a counterpoint to this, the film also featured a number of women undergoing a group hypnosis session, in which their faces are gradually voided of expression. As well as a reference to how hypnosis was used to treat cases of trauma caused by the war, the scene also alludes to how séances were employed, at the time, to make contact with the dead, or husbands and sons who were missing in action.

The finished film was presented within a specioally designed gauze structure and as a single-channel high-definition video.


Sealander’ 2017 

Amount of Funding: Cost of shipping works from London to Los Angeles.

Source of Funding:  J.Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles collectors Mark Fehrs Haukohl and Gregory McKeever

Collaborators: Mark Fehrs Haukohl and Gregory McKeever, 303 Gallery, New York.

Start Date: February 14th 2017

 End Date: July 2nd - 2017

Associated PGRs: NA


“Sealander’’Jane and Louise Wilson

Two person presentation in the Focus gallery of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, of the work “Sealander” an installation comprising of 4 large black and white photographic works taken along the Normandy coastline, of the bunkers that formed part of The Atlantic Wall, including 3 large scale articulated yardstick measures and film projection of the film installation “Sealander” and to also give an artist talk.

The works from the '' Sealander'' series were photographed along the Normandy coastline during the summer of 2006. The images were very much inspired by a text written by J.G.Ballard for the Guardian newspaper, the title of the text was '' A Handful of Dust ''2006, in the article Ballard writes about the bunkers that were built by the Nazi Organisation Todt  during W.W.II as part of  the Atlantic Wall defense and fortifications. I was inspired by Ballard's writing...where he compares the brutalist architecture of these once functioning bunkers to'' being as indifferent to time as the pyramids''. I was stuck by the compelling dystopia of these modernist brutalist structures a truly failed utopia but at the same time an architecture that was so popular in 1950's Britain with post war brutalist inspired developments in many bomb damaged cities and new town developments. 

I shot these works in black and white because I wanted to heighten that sense of abstraction and abandonment, in some of the images its difficult to work out whether the bunkers are falling into the sea from the costal erosion or emerging from it. I felt to document these works in colour with blue skies and yellow sand would trivialize the images and normalize the abstraction and sense of displaced time that I wanted to invoke.











‘Ruin Lust’ Hardcover.Brian Dillon explores the themes of Ruin Lust, The Fragment, The Catastrophic Imagination, Cities in Dust, The Waste Land, and Futures Past, illustrated with works by artists such as J.M.W. Turner.ISBN: 9781849763011



‘Conflict, Time, Photography’ Softcover. ISBN 10: 1849763208 ISBN 13: 9781849763202. Publisher: Tate, 2015. View all copies of this ISBN edition: Synopsis; About this title. Vividly illustrated, Conflict, Time, Photography zeroes in on war and its aftermath, highlighting the fact that time itself is a fundamental aspect of the photographic medium.



-In June 2014 I presented a talk based on our film the “Toxic Camera” in the program “Thinking About the Aftermath” Art Basel, I was featured in Art Basel Year 45 Book, 2014.



-In February 2015 I was invited to show “Undead Sun” in “Below the Surface” program at the 44th International Film Festival Rotterdam.






 -Future Present The Collection of the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation, 2015,Published by the Laurenz Foundation.

Schaulager Basel, English: ISBN 978-3-906315-01-0






-Blind Landings - Material Memory, paper by Jane and Louise Wilson to be published in Material Memory The Post Industrial Landscape as Site for Creative Practice by Gwen Heely Practice paper by Jane and Louise Wilson Gwen Heeney, Newcastle University Book Publication, by Cambridge University Press, published 2016









-Art of Collaboration: Phaidon Book, Jane and Louise Wilson, one of the featured collaborations by Ellen Mara De Wachter, Phaidon Press. published 2017.










In process







Support Required



C                                                                                      Current or Planned Impact Activities


Please give details including which publication/project (past, current or future) the impact relates to, collaborators, existing or future plans to monitor and evidence the impact





Support Required


D                                                                               PGR Students (current or future known students)


Supervisor Split

Mode of Study (FT/PT)

Current stage













E                                                      Conference and Seminar Presentations from 01/01/14

Name of Conf/Seminar


Gerrard O’Carroll Memorial Lecture 2017, Whitechapel Art Gallery

Jane and Louise Wilson at the Whitechapel Art Gallery


Jane and Louise Wilson Artist Talk 20th April 2017, Getty Center, Museum Lecture Hall,

Los Angeles


Jane and Louise Wilson in the Focus Gallery, J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles,

Two person presentation in the Focus gallery of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, of the work “Sealander” an installation comprising of 4 large black and white photographic works taken along the Normandy coastline, of the bunkers that formed part of The Atlantic Wall, including 3 large scale articulated yardstick measures and film projection of the film installation “Sealander” and to also give an artist talk. (The J. Paul Getty Trust is the world's largest cultural and philanthropic organization dedicated to the visual arts, it is estimated 1.3 million visitors annually, make it one of the most visited museums in the United States. It is hugely significant for research communities, where there will be a mix of academics, students, artists, filmmakers, archivists, historians, scientists, philanthropists. The Getty Research Institute has a significant library, it has exhibitions and events, a residential scholars program, publications and electronic databases.)




Blind Landings - Material Memory, paper by Jane and Louise Wilson published in

‘Material Memory The Post Industrial Landscape as Site for Creative Practice’

by Gwen Heely



BBC Two Jane and Louise Wilson 2016 featured in an hour long documentary on the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 





BBC London News interview on Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2016





 In Conversation with Jane and Louise Wilson at Liverpool School of Art and Design


Artist’s talk Jane and Louise Wilson RCA, London 2016.



Artist’s talk Jane and Louise Wilson at Schaulager on on the occasion of the exhibition FUTURE PRESENT,  November 5, 2015













History Is Now, Artist as Historian (taking place, as you will know, Tuesday, March 10, 2015







History is Now: 7 Artists Take on Britain

Hayward Gallery, London, February 2015 -26th April

Catalogue Published by Hayward Publishing, ISBN 9781853323270.







Erosion and Illegibility of Images - Blocked Vision and Self-Reflexivity in Contemporary Art






Research presentation of Jane & Louise Wilson’s work, in an illustrated lecture, as part of the CADRE (Centre for Art, Design, Research and Experimentation)



Practice paper by Jane and Louise Wilson Gwen Heeney, Newcastle University Book Publication, by Cambridge University Press, publication 2016

Material Memory,The Post Industrial Landscape as Site for Creative Practice

A one-day conference organised by Fine Art, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University.

Keynote Speakers Jane and Louise Wilson

Dr. Tim Edensor

with contributions from:

Prof. Andrew Burton, Prof. Anne Helen Mydland Rowland Byass, Dr. Venda Louise Pollock, Prof. Jeremy Welsh Dr. Ian Thompson, Prof. Wolfgang Weileder Prof. John Kippin,

Dr. Andrew Livingstone & Megan Randall Michael Maziere, Danny Bright




Jane and Louise Wilson - interview with Kirsty Wark featured in an hour long programme televised on BBC2 June10th 2016










-BBC London News- Interviewed by Brenda McManus 6:30pm, 9 June 2016






Professor Caroline Wilkinson in conversation with Jane and Louise Wilson, Saturday 28th May, 2016, 2-4pm at the John Lennon Art and Design Building.

Professor Caroline Wilkinson, Director of Liverpool School of Art and Design, has an on-going collaboration with Jane and Louise through a shared interest in forensic investigation, faces and identity. Caroline has invited Jane and Louise to discuss their artistic practice and the influences and challenges through their career, and the artists will share some of their artwork with the audience



RCA Fine Art Talks, Wednesday 20 April, 2016,  3-5pm, Jane & Louise Wilson





Jane & Louise Wilson in conversation with Erika Balsom, Lecturer in Film Studies and in Liberal Arts, King’s College, London (in English)

Artist’s talk at Schaulager on on the occasion of the exhibition FUTURE PRESENT November 5, 2015.

Jane & Louise Wilson - Future Present - Schaulager

Auditorium Schaulager. Jane & Louise Wilson in conversation with Erika Balsom, Lecturer in Film Studies ... The artist's talk is included in the price of admission.





An Invitational Symposium for Senior Artist-Endowed Foundation Leaders Hosted by the Museum of Modern Art, MOMA, New York

Panel V – Updates on Art Authentication and Attribution: Policy and Technology

guest speakers Eric Fischl, Jane and Louise Wilson, Technology First-Adopting Artists

2015 Artist-Endowed Foundation Leadership Forum program booklet ...

The Aspen Institute Artist-Endowed. Foundations Initiative/AEFI ... Friday, October 30, 2015 | 8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. ... Artist-Endowed Foundations Initiative/AEFI. The Aspen Institute ... The Museum of Modern Art | The Lewis B. and Dorothy.





Artists John Akomfrah, Richard Wentworth and Jane and Louise Wilson, together with writer and historian David Kynaston, discuss how artists shape and contribute to our understanding of the past.

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1







“History is Now -7 Artists Take on Britain” February 2015 -26th April Published by Hayward Publishing, ISBN 9781853323270. Published by Hayward Publishing. With a foreword by Ralph Rugoff and essays by Cliff Lauson, Adrian Forty, Charlotte Higgins. Jackie Kay and David Mellor. Featuring seven artists (Richard Wentworth, John Akomfrah, Jane and Louise Wilson, Hannah Starkey, Roger Hiorns, Simon Fujiwara) and six writers (including Adrian Forty, Charlotte Higgins, Jackie Kay and David Mellor), this publication gathers artworks, objects and essay that offer idiosyncratic views of a pre and post millennial post war Britain.












New Art Gallery Walsall Fri 31 Oct 2014, 12-4 PM 2014 A day symposium sets out to interrogate the trope of illegibility and erosion in contemporary artistic practice. By looking at painting, photography and sculpture/ architecture the symposium explores the extent to which contemporary art denies ‘a palpable legibility’. Artists including Jane and Louise Wilson, Idris Khan and Maria Chevska will offer an original insight into the restriction of vision and legibility.






Centre for Art, Design, Research and Experimentation) 2013-14 Public Lecture Series at the School of Art and Design within the Faculty of the Arts. University of Wolverhampton, Thursday 21st November 2013


F                                                                            Agreed Priorities














2015 - 17  (0.6) Senior Tutor Research, Moving Image Pathway in Contemporary Art Practice at the Royal College of Art, Post-Graduate students 2 year study (2016/17 cohort of 40) (Jane Wilson)  


2013-15   Professor of Art (0.2) Wolverhampton University, Wolverhampton U.K. (Jane Wilson)  

The  appointment was hosted by the Art, Critique and Social Practice cluster set up to enable the successful candidate to pursue a project or projects during this period, with additional support from Corinne Miller, Director of Wolverhampton Art Gallery.The form of any project(s) is entirely open but should have some initial connection to the  W.Midlands/Black Country. Provision has also been made to appoint a new practic­based PhD student, in connection with the post who could offer hands on support (along with other members of the student body who would benefit enormously from coming into contact with your work).  

2013-15   Visiting Professor of Art (0.2), Wolverhampton University, Wolverhampton U.K (Louise Wilson)  

2001-2005  External Assessor for MFA Fine Art,Glasgow School of Art, Post Graduate (Jane Wilson)  

1997-98      Part-time professors at the Kunst Academy Oslo, Undergraduate teaching (Jane Wilson and Louise Wilson)    

1995-96      Part-time teaching at Goldsmiths College of Art, Under Graduate (Jane Wilson and Louise Wilson)