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United Kingdom 1990

Arthur Laidlaw’s work emphasises the hubris of ‘Western’ viewers looking onto canonised
landscapes. The experience of drawing and photographing ancient architecture in the Middle East,
months before the Arab Spring, has profoundly shaped the way he sees the world. Laidlaw’s
exhibition Razed: Syrian Ruins depicted Syria’s built environments, and the disparity in international
responses to their destruction: from widespread condemnation of the demolition of classical ruins, to
resignation in the face of regime bombardment of inhabited ancient cities.
The resilient inhabitants of Ladakh, Nubra, and Spiti, in the Himalayas, are the focus of Laidlaw’s
recent work, and their future is no more stable Syria’s eight years ago. Each place is caught in its own
way – between the aggressions of India and Pakistan, the desperate plea for peace by the Kashmiri
people, and the Chinese denial of Tibetan statehood. Laidlaw’s work tries to make sense of these
conflicting forces, acknowledging the near-miraculous ability for each community to continue as
normal, as though nothing threatens their way of life.
Laidlaw was born just after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and his next project seeks to examine the
way in which borders dictate the physical and emotional landscape of different places. Whether the
permeable line defining Northern Ireland, the encroaching mesh fences that separate Israeli
settlements from Palestinian olive trees, or the promise of a towering wall on the US-Mexico border,
these markers act as clues to the identity of the people who erect them, and those who tear them
down. They signify the end of ‘us’, and the beginning of an ‘other’.
Each of Laidlaw’s projects is preoccupied with viewer expectations; his complex renderings of a
landscape through dozens of different material layers present a destabilising image that asks us to
question our assumptions of a place. These layers reflect the our own efforts to try and understand a
new culture when travelling – followed by our attempts to try and recall the original experience, even
as the memories of that place begin to fade and distort.

Arthur Laidlaw at
Wandering - a Laboratory of Subjectivity // Artists'Talk

More at

Arthur Laidlaw
Arthur Laidlaw

Arthur Laidlaw
Arthur Laidlaw

Arthur Laidlaw
Arthur Laidlaw

Arthur Laidlaw
Arthur Laidlaw


1995 – 2000 Brunswick, USA
2000 – 2003 Dragon School, UK
2003 – 2008 Radley College, UK
2008 Courtauld Institute of Art, UK
2009 John Hall Venice Course, Italy
The Courtauld Institute of Art, UK
2010 – 2013 St. Catherine’s, Oxford University, UK
2014 – 2015 City & Guilds of London Art School, UK

Academic Qualifications
2003 Awarded Fine Art Scholarship, Radley College
2008 Achieved 4 A grade A-Levels (Art, History, English, Politics)
2013 History of Art Bachelor of Arts, Oxford University
History of Art Master of Arts, Oxford University
2015 Fine Art Master of Arts, City & Guild of London Art School

Work Experience
2008 Internship at OgilvyOne Advertising (London, UK)
2010 Internship at National Gallery of Art, DC (Washington, DC, USA)
Copywriter at PagetBaker, PR firm for artists and galleries (London, UK)
2011 Researcher for life of Michelangelo documentary film, release date TBA (Oxford, UK)
Archivist at the Art Fund (London, UK)
2012 Internship at Ashmolean Museum, Prints & Drawings dept. (Oxford, UK)
2013 Strategic Consultant at Mobile5, advertising agency (London, UK)

2007 Three Generations Of Artists, Joint show at Sewell Centre, Oxford
2009 Odyssey, Solo show at Lennox Gallery, London
2010 ING Discerning Eye, Group show at Mall Galleries, London
2011 Oxford Castle, Group show at O3 Gallery, Oxford
2014 Chattanooga, Solo show at 1401 Gallery, Tennessee
2015 16/15, Group show at Muse Gallery, London
PLATFORM, Group show at Embassy Tea Gallery, London
City & Guilds MA Degree Show, Degree show at City & Guilds, London
Curio II, Group at Brixton Ritzy, London
CRUK Christmas Carols, Solo show at St Paul’s Cathedral, London
2016 Byam Shaw: Summer Show, Group show at Old Brompton Gallery, London
Razed: Syrian Ruins, Solo show at gallery@oxo, London
Oxford Art Society 125th Anniversary, Exhibition Group show at The Cloister Gallery, Oxford
ARTROOM, Group show at Old Brompton Gallery, London
10x10: Drawing the City London, Group show at RIBA, London
Inspiring Generations, Group show at D-Contemporary, London
2017 Hangar 1, Group show at SomoS Art House, Berlin
Arthur Laidlaw | Emily Girkins, Joint show at Cadogan Contemporary, London

Awards & Publications
2003 Art scholarship to Radley College
2008 Awarded top Art A-Level mark in the UK
2015 Published in Town & Country’s Fresh Coat
Published in Barehill’s The State of Art
Shortlisted for Landscape Artist of the Year
2016 Shortlisted for Ashurst Emerging Art Prize
Winner of Oxford Art Society Artist of the Year
Published in 30 Percent Creative, Interview
Published in Photomonitor, Interview