Dean Kelland: Imposter Syndrome
Dean Kelland: Imposter Syndrome

Dean Kelland: Imposter Syndrome

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This catalogue accompanies the 20 September - 22 December exhibition at Ikon Gallery: Dean Kelland: Imposter Syndrome

Ikon’s exhibition features a number of Dean Kelland’s new films, prints and sketchbooks that reimagine the psychoanalytic dialogue that has occurred between Pop Art and Prison Art since the 1960s. Referencing figures from popular culture such as Elvis and David Bowie, Kelland interrogates male identity and flawed notions of masculinity.

It is the culmination of Kelland’s four-year artist’s residency at HMP Grendon (2019-2023), funded by the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust. 

Birmingham-born artist Dean Kelland has been making art for nearly three decades. Despite this, his chosen exhibition title, Imposter Syndrome, reflects his experience at HMP Grendon, an all-male, Category B therapeutic prison. By setting up a studio in the carceral setting, with its own history and typology of art, Kelland has found himself assuming multiple identities. HMP Grendon opened in the post-war period, as an experimental psychiatric prison and, by taking on the residency, Kelland understood that the compulsive behaviour underlying his filmed performances – in which he repeats a physical action in a prolonged and painful way – would be examined by the prison’s therapeutic community.

In 2022, sixty years after the opening of HMP Grendon, Ikon opened the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Studio at the prison, offering workshops in screen printing and dry point etching. While the prisoners have collaborated with Kelland on his artistic practice, he has given them the materials and equipment to start processing the plethora of imagery that has accumulated in their cells. In doing this, he has established the prison as a centre of cultural production, where pop iconography is appropriated for the purpose of a carceral realism.

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