Memories of the Five Administrations


Simon Bedwell

Stephen Sutcliffe

15 May – 6 July 2024

Wednesday – Saturday, 12-5pm

Preview Wednesday 15 May, 6-8pm


Finissage Saturday 6 July 

Bar 3-7pm

Exhibition walkabout with the artists at 4.30pm

A collectable, limited edition poster, signed by the artists, will be for sale as a post-election souvenir. Available at launch price on a first-come basis.

Family Ceramic Collection 12-5pm


British artists Simon Bedwell and Stephen Sutcliffe collaborate in a new exhibition of ceramics, video and painting. The project has been in the making since pre-lockdown, and brings together two very distinct bodies of work, reflecting an unlikely coupling: the earthy materiality of clay and its ephemeral antithesis.

Bedwell’s new ceramics portray mainstream political figures from the last decade as slugs, inspired by satirists James Gillray and Steve Bell. These amorphous forms become the support for video works by Sutcliffe, which draw on an extensive archive of British television, film sound, broadcast images and spoken word recordings. Bedwell and Sutcliffe are of the generation and social class for whom mass, state-funded education, TV and the music press, served as introductions to experimental art and European philosophy, as well as pop music and fashion. They suggest that recent British governments have dedicated themselves to narrowing these possibilities.

What brings and holds the two artists together is not only their politics, but an approach to their respective mediums. Both employ satirical figuration to tell stories about the current socio-political climate in Britain. Bedwell’s effigies of living politicians are reminiscent of 18th century Toby Jugs modelled on charismatic drinkers, developed by the Staffordshire potteries in the early days of the industrial revolution. Sutcliffe applies the versatility of collaging techniques, conflating, in a hand-painted frieze, the louche graphics of Queen’s Jazz album (1978) with London’s first rented bikes, self-attributed to its disreputable ex-Mayor and Britain’s onetime Prime Minister.  The juxtaposition of Sutcliffe’s videos on expanded e-readers within Bedwell’s ceramic tableaux, create a mise en scènereminiscent of the early BANK installations of which Bedwell was an instigator in the 1990s.

This new collaboration responds to Beaconsfield’s unique gallery environment, where sculptural and painterly installation is understood as the critical process of trying things out.

With thanks to Goldsmiths College and The Elephant Trust.




Images: Simon Bedwell, Sunak, 2024. Photocopy. Stephen Sutcliffe, Cymbeline, 2020. Video still.




Working Creatively with Clay 2024