Mark Sladen

  • Doctoral Researcher

Mark Sladen is a curator and writer, specialising in contemporary art. For most of his life Mark has lived and worked in London, where he started his curatorial career in the 2000s, working as Curator then Senior Curator at the Barbican Art Gallery, and subsequently Director of Exhibitions at the ICA. In more recent years Mark relocated to Copenhagen to be Director of Kunsthal Charlottenborg, before returning to London to work on a number of projects, including the re-launch of the Design Museum. His other recent engagements include serving on the Turner Prize jury, curating a show for Lismore Castle in Ireland, and writing a monthly column for ArtReview. Mark has a BA in English from Oxford University, and an MA in History of Art from University College London. In October 2017 Mark took up an offer of a fully funded research studentship at Loughborough’s School of the Arts, English and Drama.

Mark’s PhD research focuses on the Cuban-American artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres, whose brief career was centred on New York, where he was a key figure in the 1990s – featuring in debates around identity politics and notions of the public, among other subjects – before his death from AIDS in 1996. Some of the most significant pieces by Gonzalez-Torres give the public a hands-on relationship to the work, and these include his ‘stacks’ – piles of identical posters, endlessly replenished, from which visitors are invited to take sheets away. Some stacks feature abstract motifs, while others reproduce texts, photographs or newspaper cuttings. Mark is relating the stacks of Gonzalez-Torres to three different principles – poetic language, the document and distribution – employing an interdisciplinary approach that draws on art history and theory, but also on other fields, most obviously literature and publishing.

Supervisors: Dr Ahren Warner, Dr Craig Richardson.