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David Theobald

Video artist and animator.

David Theobald (b. Worthing, UK) graduated with an MFA in Art practice from Goldsmiths in 2008. Technology and its impact on subjectivity lies at the heart of his practice. Consisting primarily of digital animation, his work and subject matter tends to mirror the structure of the underlying technology used in its creation and the repetitive processes that seem central to the infrastructure of contemporary society. Frequently, the intensive labour that goes into his animations is perversely used to produce images of objects and experiences that we normally go out of our way to avoid seeing and experiencing. 

Exhibitions include Plymouth Contemporary, at the KARST Gallery, the solo show PC World at Motorcade/Flashparade, Bristol, 971 Horses and 4 Zebras with a screening at the Tate Modern, Deepest Sympathy at Ikon, Birmingham and Animate Project's' Digitalis. David’s work was included on the recent DVD, New Contemporaries Moving Image 1968 - 2010, and as part of Move it: Parts and Labour a touring exhibition of artist animation. David recently co-curated the exhibitions Self-Service and  Altered States at St. John's Crypt, Waterloo. He was winner of the Addison Award at the 2018 Chaiya Art Awards, the 2015 Creekside Open (selected by Richard Deacon), the Motorcade/FlashParade National 2012, the Open West 2011 and the 2009 Creekside Open (selected by Mark Wallinger). Recently his work featured in the book “Experimental Animation: From Analogue to Digital” (Harris et al, Routledge, 2019).

Artist Statement:

Today, location is not so much defined by geography, but by our position within the complex web of processes that make up contemporary society. My work attempts to capture such a situation, caught in a perpetual state of transit where increasing complexity is often presented as the illusion of ‘progress’. As the global economy lurches towards an uncertain future, these complex connections that form the basis of day-to-day existence seem ever more evident and ever more precarious.

Working with digital animation inevitably raises questions about mediation in modern society.  Advances in imaging technology have the potential to stretch the limits of our senses and what we are capable of perceiving. However, much CGI and game technology instead appears directed towards anthropomorphism and a pre-canned form of wish fulfilment, the spectacular effects holding the spectator in thrall of the screen. In contrast, I’ve used animation to depict object and animal ontologies that are typically ignored by or unavailable to human beings. In many of my works we are witness to the normally unseen lives of objects, begging the question of what it means to be something. On top of this, of course, is the understanding that the completely illusory fabrication and artistic manipulation of these animated images renders these glimpses into unobservable worlds ironic impossibilities. Combined with the use of a restricted viewpoint, repetition and flat narrative, my work seems more likely to generate feelings of futility, frustration and perhaps humour which, in some cases, might give way to a deeper contemplation of the systems within which we live.  


Qualifications and training

2008 - MA Fine Art, Goldsmiths, London

2006 - BA Fine Art (Sculpture), Wimbledon School of Art, Wimbledon 

Solo Shows

2017 - Nick Veasey - 'Inside Out' (includes a collaboration with Nick Veasey) , Fotografiska, Stockholm, Sweden 

2017 - 'Modern Wonders.', Screenlight, Waterside Arts Centre, Sale 

2017 -  'Augmented Reality', Digital U, Art Gene, (on line exhibition)

2013 - 'PC World', Motorcade/FlashParade, Bristol

2012 - 'Deepest Sympathy', Ikon, Birmingham

2012 - 'Deepest Sympathy', Ruskin Gallery, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge

2009 - 'Baggage Reclaim', Prussian Projekte, Nottingham

Group exhibitions/screenings


'Faster Than Ever', Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (Dec 4 - Feb 14)

'Liz May: A Personal Perspective', APT Gallery, Depford

'The New Black', void collective (online) 

'Impact', Chaiya Art Awards (online)

'On Experimental Animation' with Savinder Bual (screening), Pennywell Studios, BEEF, Bristol

'Art Projects Screening Room: Playtime', The London Art Fair, Business Design Centre, London

'In the Dark 2020: Even Darker', The Cello Factory, London


The London Group Open (Part 1), The Cello Factory, London 

switch 2019,, Nenagh, Tipperary, Ireland 

193rd RSA Annual Exhibition, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh 

'Animating Truth(s)', University of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria (screening) 

'Open Projections 3', Coventry Cathedral, Coventry (curated by Martin Green)

'This Way Up', (online) 

The Westmorland Landscape Prize, Rheged Centre, Penrith 

'Art at the ARB', Alison Richard Building, Cambridge University 

'Self-Service', St John's Crypt, London 

Creekside Open 2019, APT Gallery, London (selected by Sacha Craddock) 

Creekside Open 2019, APT Gallery, London (selected by Brian Griffiths ) 

'Experimental Animation: From Analogue to Digital', Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

'In the Dark', The Cello Factory, London 


The London Group Annual, The Cello Factory, London (Dec 4 - Dec 15)

121st Annual  Exhibition Society of Scottish Artists (SSA), Royal Scottish Academy, Edinbugh (Dec 23 - Jan 17)

Wells Art Contemporary Awards 2018, Bishop's Palace, Wells (Oct 6 - 21)

166th Annual Exhibition at the Royal West Academy, Bristol  (Oct 7 - Nov 25)

'The London Group at St Ives', Penwith Gallery, St Ives 

'Altered States', St John's Crypt, London 

Chaiya Art Awards, gallery@oxo, Oxo Tower, London 

NN Contemporary Open, NN Contemporary Art, Northampton, UK 


The London Group Open 2017, Cello Factory, London

Plymouth Contemporary, KARST Gallery, Plymouth 

London Group Film Night, The Highgate Gallery, London 

Creekside Open 2017, APT Gallery, London (selected by Jordan Baseman ) 

'The Mesh', Waterman's Art Centre, Brentford, London

'The End is by Yur', Elysium Gallery, Swansea, UK 

'Pay and Display', Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, UK 

'Gesture and Direction', Spectrum: A Survey of Artists Moving Image, Gorvy Lecture Theatre, Royal College of Art, London 


Switch Project (Designfest), Streets of Clonmel, Tipperary, Ireland (Nov 2 - Nov 8)

135th Annual Exhibition, Royal Ulster Academy of Arts, Belfast, UK

'Move it: Parts and Labour', Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, Wales

'The Deaf Canvas Listens', Kensington and Chelsea College, London

The London Group Film Night, The Cello Factory, London


NN Contemporary Open, NN Contemporary Art, Northampton, UK

Animate Open 'Move it: Parts and Labour', Quad Gallery, Derby, UK

'23:57', Fuse Art Space, Bradford, UK

The 82nd London Group Open, Cello Factory, London

neo:artprize2015, neo:gallery27, Bolton, UK

'Future and Behind', CON-TEMPORARY 5 Calle de Mezo, Venice

Creekside Open 2015, APT Gallery, London (selected by Richard Deacon)

Spectrum: A Survey of Artists Moving Image, Breese Little Gallery, London

Limbo Associate Members Show 2015, Limbo Gallery, Margate (selected by Adam Chodzko)

KARST Artist Film Screenings 2015, Karst Gallery, Plymouth, UK


'Bittersweet Christmas', Trispace Gallery, The Biscuit Factory, London

OIKOS – Mostra d’Arte Ecointegralista, Villa Spinola Narisano, Genova, Italy

Uamo 2014 - 'Pretty Ugly', Einstein Kultur, Munich, Germany

6th Screengrab International Media Arts Award, James Cook University, Queensland, Australia

9th Szczecin European Film Festival, Szczecin, Poland

'From David Bomberg to Paula Rego - The London Group in Southampton', Southampton City Art Gallery

McLaren 2014 Animation in Context: Screening and discussion, CCA, Glasgow

Oriel Davies Open 2014 (selected by Deirdre Figueiredo, Helen Legg, Anthony Shapland and Alex Boyd Jones)Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, Powys, Wales

Print Screen Festival, Mediateque Holon, Holon, Israel

Limbo Associate Members Show (selected by Bob and Roberta Smith and Sarah Martin), Limbo Gallery, Margate, UK

The London Group on London, The Cello Factory, London

Film Open, Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, UK


8th International Streaming Festival, the Hague, Netherlands, and Zagreb, Croatia, and online

5th Base Film Night screening, 5th Base Gallery, London

+100 The London Group Today, The Cello Factory, London

COE 13, Claremorris, Ireland

Worcester Open 2013, The Old Library Space, Worcester, UK

Creekside Open 2013 (selected by Ceri Hand), APT Gallery, London 

Filmideo, Index Art Centre, Newark, USA 

Rogues' Galleries, Deva Shorts, Chester Performs, Chester, UK 

'971 Horses and 4 Zebra's, CAST, Tasmania, Australia

The Public, West Bromwich, UK


'971 Horses and 4 Zebras', Wimbledon Space, London

'971 Horses and 4 Zebras' Screening, Tate Modern, London

Exeter Contemporary Open, Exeter Phoenix, Exeter 

Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, Alchemy, Hawick, Scottish Borders

'Appropriate Response', Vulpes Vulpes, London

'On My Behalf: Self-portraits of the London Group', The London Group, Cumberland Hotel, London

Reel Two, Over+out, Lincoln

Switch 2012,, Nenagh, Tipperary, Ireland


4Seen, Garden Gallery, Montpelier, Cheltenham

6th International Streaming Festival, The Hague, Netherlands, and online

'About the Human Condition', International Streaming Festival, The Hague, On line

'Bus Stop Cinema', Elysium Gallery, Swansea 2011 - Digitalis, Animate Projects, On-line

'Digitalis' Screening, Animate Projects and BFI, NFT 3 Southbank, London

Raindance Film Festival, Apollo Cinema, London

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy, London 

Tenderpix, Rushes Soho Shorts Festival, Tenderpixel Gallery, London

Creekside Open 2011 (Dexter Dalwood), APT Gallery, London 

Creekside Open 2011 (Phyllida Barlow), APT Gallery, London 


'After the End', Elysium Gallery, Swansea, Wales

'Curiouser and Curiouse'r, Old Vic Tunnels, London

ev+a 2010, ev+a, Limerick, Ireland

Exeter Contemporary Open 2010, Exeter Phoenix, Exeter

'Holding Time', Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan , London

'Home Sweet Hom'e, GlogauAIR, Berlin, Germany

'RE: animate', Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, Powys, Wales

2010 - Cube Open 2010, Cube Gallery, Manchester 


Art Projects, London Art Fair, London Business Design Centre, London 

'Exploits in the Wireless City' , Broadway Media Centre/Radiator, Nottingham

'In to Land', Arlington Arts, Newbury, UK

Oxford Contemporary, OVADA, Oxford

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy, London 

'Transition', Bargehouse (OXO building)/ Submit2Gravity, London

Celeste Prize 09 Finalist, Celeste Art Prize, Alte AEG Fabrik, Berlin

COE 2009, Claremorris Open Exhibition, Claremorris, Ireland

The Open West, Summerfield Gallery, Univeristy of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham


'Figuring Landscapes', British Film and Video Collection, Touring show (ArtSway, FACT, Tate Modern ..)

ArtSway08, ArtSway, Sway, Hampshire

Cube Open 2008, Cube Gallery, Manchester

New Contemporaries 08, Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Liverpool and London

'Monkeys with Car Keys', Bargate Gallery (Aspace), Southampton

'Quantifying Play', The Jago Gallery, London 

Switch,, Nenagh, Tipperary

Visions in the Nunnery, Nunnery Gallery, Bow Arts Trust,

Goldsmiths MA Fine Art Show, Goldsmiths, London


ArtSway07, ArtSway, Sway, Hampshire 

Crawford Open07, Crawford Gallery, Cork, Ireland 

Curated projects

2019 - Self-Service, St John's Crypt, London (with Nicola Schauerman)

2018 - Altered States, St John's Crypt, London (with Nicola Schauerman)

2009 - Modern Times, Vegas Gallery, London

Competitions, prizes and awards 

2018 - Chaiya Art Awards, Addison Award Winner, gallery@oxo, London

2015 - Creekside Open Winner (selected by Richard Deacon), APT Gallery, London

2012 - Motorcade/FlashParade National Winner, Motorcade/FlashParade, Bristol 

2011 - Open West 2011 Winner, Summerfield Gallery, University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham 

2009 - Creekside Open Winner (selected by Mark Wallinger), APT Gallery, London

2008 - Warden's Purchase Prize (MA Show), Goldsmiths College, London 

Educational experience 

2009 to 2015 -  Visiting Lecturer, Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts, Wimbledon


Experimental Animation: From Analogue to Digital, Harris, Husbands and Taberham, Routledge, 2019

New Contemporaries Moving Image 1968-2010, Kirsty Ogg (Ed.), LUX, 2014 (DVD)


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