Mark Wallinger was born in Chigwell, England in 1959. He studied at Loughton College, Essex, 1977-8; Chelsea School of Art, London, 1978-81, and finally at Goldsmiths College, London, 1983-5. Wallinger was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1995, and won the award in 2007. He was awarded a Henry Moore Fellowship at the British School in Rome, 1998. In 2001, he undertook a DAAD International Artists Programme, Berlin and represented Britain at the 49th Venice Biennale. Wallinger lives and works in London.
Wallinger’s works have a broad appeal. His early works reflected his roots in the tradition of British left-wing thought. For the Turner Prize exhibition in 1995, his work took his interest in horse racing as a metaphor for the British fixation with class and breeding. He extended the Duchampian idea of the ready made to include an actual race horse named by the artist A Real Work of Art (1994) (the horse was trained in Newmarket but ran only one race before being injured). Yet on a more general level, his work can also be read as a satire of the late twentieth century British identity: its historical myths, traditions, ceremonies and social systems.
Royal Ascot, one of the most famous and exclusive horse races in the world, takes place every year and is renowned for its royal pageantry and tradition. In Wallinger’s work entitled Royal Ascot (1994), the artist presents the British Royal Family’s processions during this event in their stunning horse-drawn carriages whilst the national anthem is being played, ceremony at its finest. Yet here he has taken footage from several processions from consecutive days and has looped these to play on four monitors. The repetition of the event brings to light its highly ritualised aspect as well as the mechanical gestures of the Royal Family. Despite the protagonists’ changing outfits, Wallinger brings to light the absurdity of customs, and the highly constructed nature of British pageantry. The work is displayed on four flight cases in a procession, as a satire on the highly artificial nature of the Royal procession.
In 2008, Wallinger was one of the five artists shortlisted for a competition to create a public sculpture in Ebbsfleet, south east England, as part of the regeneration of the area. His proposal to construct a 50-metre high recreation of a thoroughbred racehorse won the competition in 2009.
Selected recent solo exhibitions include: Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London, Carlier Gebauer, Berlin, 2010; Kunstmuseum Aarau, Switzerland, 2008; State Britain, Tate Britain, London, Donald Young Gallery, Chicago, 2007; National Gallery, Prague, 2006; Museo de Arte Carillo Gil, Mexico City, 2005. In addition, Wallinger’s work was included in major group exhibitions such as Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi collection, London, Berlin and New York, 1997-9, and the 5th Istanbul Biennale, 1997.