Skip to main content

Still from 'Ways to Speak Absence', HD video with sound, 2023 in collaboration with Matt Alton

Mental Health for Artists, Talk Recording: 'Art + Grief - Burning out and figuring out what matters' - with Chris Alton

This talk was part of the 2024 'Mental Health for Artists' event programme.

Chris Alton talks about his recent experience of creative and professional burnout. Burning out forced him to reconsider where he was putting his energy and ultimately shifted his creative focus towards significantly more personal project. 

As part of the talk, there was a screening of, Ways to Speak Absence (2023), a short poetry film made in collaboration with Matt Alton, a poet and his brother. This is a recording of the artist talk, it does not include the film screening.

About Chris

Chris Alton is an artist, based in Manchester, UK. His practice spans a range of media and approaches, including; socially engaged projects, video essays, textile banners, and publications. In 2012 he founded 'English Disco Lovers (EDL)', an anti-fascist, pro-disco group. Other projects include; 'Adam Speaks (With New Mouths)' (2017), a neoclassical treehouse commissioned by the National Trust; and 'What Mortals Henceforth Shall Our Power Adore' (2020), a video essay that frames the trident as a symbol of colonial intent. Since 2021, he has been working in collaboration with Emily Simpson on a project regarding grief and the absence of language to adequately express it. The project encompasses; dinners, workshops, posters, publications, a billboard, and a forthcoming exhibition with Bloc Projects, Sheffield (March 2024).

Exhibitions & commissions include; Tied to Everything Else, Paradise Works, Salford (2023) The slabs whistle; a song under my wheels, KARST & Take A Part (2022); Throughout the Fragment of Infinity That We Have Come to Know, The NewBridge Project, Gateshead (2020); Link & Shift, Eastside Projects, Birmingham (2019); Survey, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art; Bluecoat, Liverpool; g39, Cardiff; & Jerwood Space, London (2018-19); Bloomberg New Contemporaries, South London Gallery; & Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool Biennial (2018-19); Adam Speaks, The National Trust, Croome, Worcestershire (2017); and Outdancing Formations, Edith-Russ-Haus, Oldenburg (2015).


Tags, Topics, Artforms, Themes and Contexts

Further reading


Reflecting on "Mental Health for Artists" Season

Knowledge base

Mental Health for Artists, Talk Recording: Old in Art School, In Conversation with Nell Painter

Knowledge base

Mental Health for Artists, Talk Recording: Listening better - with Amelia Hawk

Become a member

We support our members with: insurance, networks, space, opportunities, R&D awards, profiling, advice and mentoring.
Become a member