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Photography (MA)

Andy Bir

I am a visual artist who uses the body to engage physically and intimately with the internal realities that we construct in relation to lived experience. My practice includes sculpture, performance, text, spoken word, photography, and moving image. Much of my work is fuelled by a traumatic childhood—a time when I often misinterpreted the intimacy on offer. My approach to trauma—interrogating the internal realities constructed in relation to trauma and not the trauma itself—explores the possibility of taking responsibility for our current emotional state rather than remaining the victim of trauma.

My dissertation, From the Inside Out, is part of the RCA's permanent library collection.

Upcoming exhibitions

Off-RCA: Atelier Alonso, Arles, France (3 - 9 July, 2023)

RCA2023: Graduate Show - Truman Brewery, London (13 - 16 July, 2023)

Degree Details

School of Arts & HumanitiesPhotography (MA)RCA2023 at Truman Brewery

Truman Brewery, F Block, Ground, first and second floors

Two young boys dressed in Cub Scout uniforms  and a text conversation

I struggle to understand time. My present is my past and my future. To move forward, I always think back.

For most of my adult life, I have challenged the narrative of memory. Even after accepting a memory as real-life experience, I sometimes refuse to accept that the experience remembered made any part of me. Because if my experiences made me, I breathe someone else’s breath.

I used to believe in reincarnation until I realised that if we all come back with no memory of who we were before, death is always eternal oblivion. I tell myself there’s something liberating about knowing that nothing I say or do will last beyond the last person who remembers.

Two bodies entangled in a ribbon of lead
Body painted with metallic paint, mask, a letter regarding mental health treatment
Body painted with metallic paint, mask, a letter regarding mental health treatment, lead crown
Crown sculpture made with melted lead
A letter regarding mental health treatment, words redacted to create a sentence that reads I am becoming you
An overlay of multiple sentences where most of the text is illegible

Understanding understanding

Do you have to know that my father was a roofer

to understand the lead used in these images?

Do you have to know that the lead belonged to my father

to understand why I used it to make his crown?

Do you have to know about my fear that one day I will become my father

to understand why I needed to feel the weight of his crown on my head?

Do you have to know about my father's fists

to understand how difficult it was for me to wear his crown?

Do you have to know that my father was sectioned

to understand why I fear that part of him is also a part of me?

Do you have to know that my sister is schizophrenic

to understand how deep this fear inside me runs?

Do you have to know all the ugly truths contained by this body

to understand how this body means more than what you see?

Perhaps you don't have to know anything at all.

Perhaps the only person who needs to understand is me.

It Felt Like Love

intimate adjective (in-tə-mət)

  • marked by a warm friendship developing through long association.
  • suggesting informal warmth or privacy.
  • engaged in, involving, or marked by sex or sexual relations.
  • of a very personal or private nature. 
  • marked by very close association, contact, or familiarity.    
  • intrinsic, essential.
  • belonging to or characterizing one's deepest nature.

intimate noun (in-tə-mət)    

  • a very close friend or confidant: an intimate friend.

intimate verb (in-tə-māt)

  • to communicate delicately and indirectly.     
  • to make known especially publicly or formally.

Source: [accessed 06/06/23]

112 rolls, painted prints, in colour order, showing the hands of online webcam performers
56 hand casts stacked against a black background with very little light
56 art mannequins mimicking poses of online webcams performers
Four pixelated screenshots of an unidentifiable webcam performer
Abstract sculpture of a sow's teats, man with a rose in his mouth, covered in cream
A body from behind sitting on the floor beneath suspended roof tiles beside the same image without the body
Three crosses made using sweets. Includes fingers, tongue, and eyes
A collage of scrapbook notes and ideas