The current high level of criminal re-offending signifies an intrinsic failure in Britain’s penal system. It is Ikon’s conviction that the arts can be an especially effective way of engaging with offenders who feel alienated from mainstream education and employment, in order to break the vicious circle.
Edmund Clark has been Ikon’s artist-in-residence (2014-17) at Britain’s only therapeutic prison, HMP Grendon in Buckinghamshire. An artist with a longstanding interest in the incarceration and its effects, this exhibition showcases the body of work he has developed in response to the prison and helping to facilitate the prisoners’ own creative output. The work explores HMP Grendon as an environment and a process, as well as a place of incarceration, which is the result of Clark’s familiarity and engagement with the prisoners, prison officers and staff’s daily routine. The works raise important questions about ideas of representation, self-image, trauma and panopticism.