Marc Wilson’s photography documents the memories, histories and stories that are set in the landscapes that surround us.
Marc works on long term documentary projects, such as his previous work, completed in 2014, ‘The Last Stand’ and his current work, ‘A wounded landscape’.
Marc tells stories through his photography, focusing at times on the landscape itself, and the objects found on and within it, and sometimes combining landscape, documentary, portrait and still life, along with audio recordings of interviews and sounds, to portray the mass sprawling web of the histories and stories he is retelling.
His work was one of the winners at The Terry O’Neill award in 2013 and
‘The Last Stand’ was published as a book in late 2014. It sold out of its 1stedition by early 2015 and a 2ndedition has now been published.
Solo exhibitions include those at The Royal Armouries Museum, Focalpoint Gallery and The Anise Gallery, London. Group shows include those at The Photographers Gallery and the Association of Photographers gallery, London, and internationally at The Athens PhotoFestival, 2015 and Tel Aviv Museum of Art, 2018.
His work has been published in journals and magazines ranging from The British Journal of Photography and Raw Magazine to Wired and Dezeen.
A wounded landscape: - Ben Barkow, Director, The Wiener Library for the study of the Holocaust & Genocide.
“I became aware of Marc Wilson’s photography approximately three years ago and it made an immediate, powerful and lasting impression on me. The Wiener Library has numerous opportunities to see artistic responses to the Holocaust, and I can state unambiguously that Marc’s work is among the finest and most sensitive that we have seen in many years. What impresses me most is that Marc achieves a haunting, even lyrical beauty without ever straying into sentimentality or the emotional exploitation of a notoriously difficult and challenging subject matter.
His art speaks of the most terrible crimes, and how these are both altered and unaltered through the passage of time. He testifies to the lasting physical and spiritual echoes of mass murder but does so in a way that is wholly allied with the suffering of victims. In this way he manages to offer us something akin to consolation, even as he asks us to recall and contemplate the horror of the Holocaust.
His work is a forceful and necessary reminder of the vast geographical range over which the murders took place, but the uniqueness of each location he photographs recalls the uniqueness of each human being murdered there. In this he counters a prevailing tendency in Holocaust commemoration to focus only on individual survivor stories which – paradoxically – tends to obscure public understanding of the victims.
The experience of stumbling unexpectedly across an exhibition of his work in Oxford brought home to me the exceptional power of this imagery.
Since first encountering Marc’s work I have been impressed by his willingness to enter into dialogue with the Wiener Library about the progress of his work and I was delighted when he agreed to speak to our audiences about his project. He is committed to the aim of wide public engagement and has embarked on wide ranging dialogue with many of the most reputable institutions in our field. In this way he can reach out to and engage with audiences keen to explore the legacies of the Second World War and the Holocaust, but also the wider issues of how art and photography can contribute to our understanding and coming-to-terms with legacies of trauma.
The Wiener Library is keen to support Marc as he progresses his work and looks for innovative ways to seek new audiences. We are actively exploring how his work can be used in connection with relevant anniversaries, openings and other events to illuminate and challenge.”
The Last Stand – Review by Colin Pantell, 2015.
There is something quite compelling about finding old war defences on the British coastline. Without even looking for them, you stumble on bunkers, radar stations and old radio bases, curious constructions that were never quite put to their fullest possible use and have been left to decay in the face of the sea and the salt and the wind.
These sea defences are the subject of Marc Wilson's book, The Last Stand: Northern Europe, in which he travels around Europe photographing the sea defences of Britain, Belgium, Denmark, Norway and France.
It's large format work and it's quite beautiful (Paul Virilio's Bunker Archaeology may be the most recognised photography of sea defences but that's a different kind of book) . Everything is shot in subdued diffused light, the pre-dawn it looks like much of the time, and the way in which the different defences merge and crumble into the landscape of which they are now part.
At Sainte-Margtuerite-sur-Mer in Normandy, the grey brutalism of bunkers meets with the brutalism of crumbling cliffs, the plates of concrete mirroriing the tectonic plates of a shifting earth. On the pebble beaches, the shards of blackened concrete look like the remains of ancient megaliths, while on the grey sand stretches the slabs look almost soft and malleable.
The Scandanavian defences take on a pagan look. At Vorupor in Denmark, a radar receiver is buried into what looks like peat bog, while on the beach the batteries (which could fire 495 kilogramme projectiles) look like the remains of particularly malevolent beetles.
At Haugesund in Norway, the batteries are folded into the basalt rock formations. The top of one bunker peeks out from a pile of shattered rock like the top of some strange helmet, the opening a visor from which some mysterious being looks out upon the world.
The most attractive patterns are made by tank walls, the one-kilometre wall at Newburgh, Scotland being a particularly fine example, while the anti-submarine barrier in the Firth of Forth is known as 'the dragons' teeth' for good reason.
The English sea defences are curious and range from old gun placements on the white cliffs between Dover and Folkestone and the defences at Studland Bay in Dorset, the bay where the full-scale rehearsal for D-Day took place.
The Last Stand is as multi-layered as the landscapes which it features; there's historical detail wrapped folded over into a chronotopia of functional brutalism, mixed with local touches that feeds into the geological, panoramic and tactical.
All the boxes are ticked in Robert Adams traditional landscape list: there's geography, autobiography, and metaphor. But on top of that, Wilson gives us a politicised view of landscape and power that ties back to survey photography of Timothy O'Sullivan and the work of Mitch Epstein.
Layered into that is an Arcadian vision. With its focus on Northern Europe it's a dystopian Arcadia; there is a pagan feel to Wilson's pictures, a syncretic vision where geology, flora, climate and war find a single expression. And it's beautiful.
2019 Memory and Light festival, Kaunuas 2022, Lithuania.
2018 Permanent collection - Holocaust Exhibition & learning centre, Huddersfield.
2018 Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Group show.
2017 Oriel Colwyn gallery, Wales. Solo show.
2016 Bonhoga gallery, Shetland. Solo show.
2015 Romania photo festival
2015 Athens Photo Festival - Benaki Museum - Main exhibition
2014 Peacock Visual Arts Aberdeen. Solo show.
2013-2014 The Royal Armouries Museum Leeds. Solo show.
2013 Anise Gallery - London. Solo show.
2013 The Royal Armouries Museum Fort Nelson, Portsmouth. Solo show.
2013 The Affordable Art Fair Eyestorm New York & London
2013 Terry O'Neill Award Lucy Bell gallery, St Leonards
2013 Terry O'Neill Award The Strand gallery, London
2010 Landscape One, The Lucy Bell Gallery, Group show
2006 Association of Photographers, London. Group show.
2006 Association of Photographers, London, Sublime. Group show.
2005 New York contemporary art fair. Group show.
2005 Photo2005, Affordable art fair. Group show.
2004 Fluid gallery, Grenoble, France, Solo show.
2003 Greenpeace Save or delete exhibition, London. Group show
2002 Victoria and Albert Museum, Dislocation
2001 Art 2001, London, Group show.
2000 Focal Point gallery, Southend, Solo show
1999 Now Showing Gallery, London. Solo show
1996 The Photographers Gallery, London. Group show
1996 Instituto Europeo del Design, Milan. Group show
1996 The Back Hill Gallery, Clerkenwell. London. Solo show.
Selected Awards / Publications / Reviews / Talks
2019 Kaunas Pilnas Kulturos - interview (radio and print)
2019 Holland America ship Guest lecturer, Japan.
2018 The Wiener library for Holocaust and Genocide research - talk
2017 The Army and Navy Club, London - talk
2016 Natural History Museum - talk
2016 Radio Resonance conversation
2016 Digital camera Magazine
2016 Professional Photography Magazine
2015 The Telegraph
2015 The Times
2015 The Daily Mail
2015 Colin Pantall book review
2014 The Daily Mail
2014 Architects Journal
2014 Raw View Magazine
2014 Design Observer / Places Journal
2014 The Guardian Online
2104 Radio 2 talk show - Jeremy Vine
2014 BBC In Pictures
2014 Culture 24
2014 Photoforum - talk
2012 Wayne Ford The Last Stand
2013 Terry O'Neil Award
2013 Photomonitor The Last Stand
2012 aCurator magazine
2006 PDN Photo Annual
2000 Published in British Journal of Photography
1995 Published in British Journal of Photography
Ma Photography LCP (1999)
Ba Photography LCP (1996)
BSc Sociology Edinburgh University (1992)