United Kingdom - Exhibition

Inside: Artists and Writers in Reading Prison

HM Prison Reading

04 Sep 201630 Oct 2016

HM Prison Reading opens for the first time to the public as artists, writers, and performers respond to its most notorious inmate: Oscar Wilde. Wilde’s time in jail was devastating, the work produced in result enduring. Incarcerated in solitary confinement he wrote De Profundis, an extended letter to his lover Lord Alfred Douglas; on release he produced his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol.

At this resonant site, the penal regime Wilde suffered is explored through archives, leading through to the installation of new works by artists such as Nan GoldinMarlene Dumas, and Steve McQueen in the previously inaccessible – or inescapable – cells and corridors.

In some cells, visitors will find letters on the theme of state-enforced separation from around the world by writers including Binyavanga Wainaina, Ai Weiwei, and Anne Carson. Each Sunday throughout the exhibition, Wilde’s harrowing and heartfelt De Profundis will be performed live in the former prison chapel byreaders including Patti Smith, Colm Tóibín, and Ben Whishaw. BBC Radio 4 will also broadcast an abridged version of De Profundis recorded in what was Wilde’s cell on 11 September at 4pm, followed by readings of five of the contemporary letters at 7:45pm each day from 12 until 16 September.

This exhibition brings together that which Wilde’s final works so eloquently delineated: the pain of separation, the excruciatingly slow passage of time, betrayal, redemption, and love.

  • HM Prison Reading. Courtesy of ArtangelHM Prison Reading. Courtesy of Artangel
  • HM Prison Reading. Courtesy of ArtangelHM Prison Reading. Courtesy of ArtangelHM Prison Reading. Courtesy of Artangel

Related Artists

Special Events

Destination: United Kingdom
Where: HM Prison Reading
Type: Lecture
Admission: Ticket

Contacts & Details

wed, thu 11:00 am - 7:00 pm; fri, sat 11:00 am - 8:00 pm; sun 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

mon, tue

£9 adults, £7 concessions, £2 children under 18. De Profundis reading 20£

T: +44 0 207 713 1400 M: info@artangel.org.uk W: Artangel
Forbury Road, Reading Berkshire, RG1 3HY United Kindom