Art Surgery projects 1997 – 2007

The ongoing aim of Art Surgery is to establish a platform for performance and avant-garde art forms in the region. Intrinsic to this is the development of projects from a theoretical basis with the aim of dissolving the boundaries between theory and practice and opening up an expanded, communicative realm where key concepts such as the ‘real’, ‘poetic’ and ‘site’ can be explored through challenging new work. Art Surgery’s activities include a wide variety of curating, commissioning and project work with a diverse range of artists including past and present collaborations with over 100 hundred artists, many well-established practitioners such as Bobby Baker, Andre Stitt, Alastair Maclennan, Roland Miller, Kira O’Reilly, Helena Goldwater, Richard Lazell, Phil Collins, Adam Dant, Helen Sear, Katie Holten…(see full list!)


Art Surgery is an artist led initiative set up in St Ives in 1998 by Andy Whall and Pat Finn. Initially the momentum for the project came from an underground magazine called `start”. which had a run of five issues in 1997. It was edited and written by a loose collective of writers and artists who had identified a need to distance themselves and establish a discourse distinct from that of the traditional St Ives art scene. Currently Art Surgery is Andy Whall and Delpha Hudson.

Throughout Art Surgery’s development, the context of St Ives has remained important. Live art and video had been little exhibited in Cornwall previously and the town is a perfect site for testing innovative strategies and concepts in the arts – particularly since the opening of Tate St Ives. Few places in the UK have such a thoroughly developed infrastructure for the promotion and sale of the tired, modernist (and now thoroughly commercial) aesthetic that completely relies on the worn concepts and understandings which Art Surgery seeks to critique.

Art Surgery works in a dispersed, discoursive and conceptual way. There is no base or exhibition space, we work collaboratively using the internet, and technology, making temporary interventions in commercial and public spaces, Art Surgery is flexible and hydra-headed; slippery and elusive, ready to catch unsuspecting audiences unaware, and kick-start ideas, concepts and dialogues. Fluid, flexible and grounded in a variety of theoretical and cutting-edge concerns, Art Surgery has uniquely collaborated with a huge number of artists, and brought their work to West Penwith: Alaric Sumner, Ken Turner, Andy Hughes, Joe Jordan, Ken Turner, Bruce Gilchrist, Helen Sear, Sheila Nadimi, Sue Harris, Miranda Whall, Adam Dant, (Donald Parsnips), Nick Lewis, Ian Elliot, Tom Baxter, Richard Makin, Jorn Ebner, Max Factory, Athena Constantine, Rupert White, John Redhead, Chris Short, Katie Holten, Olga Alexopolus, Jonathon Allen, Ana Benlock, Michael Booth, Marcus Coates, Michael Cousin, Angela Darby, Hal Ekousy, Tamzin Foster, Werther Germonderi, James P Graham, Tony Hill, Stuart Lee, Susan Macwilliams, Sheila Nadimi, Predrag Padjic, Kevin Reid, Matteo Rosa, Karl Ingar Roys, Stuart Tait, Miranda Whall, Lynne Williams, Julie Bacon, Roland Miller, Tim Brommage, Angela Praed, Justin Mckeown, Elusive Camel Productions, Steven Hodge, John Dummet (Otiose), Maxine McCarthy, Art Department, Ryya Bread, Kira O’Reilly, Ruth Way & Russell Frampton, Amanda Lorens & Tessa Garland, Maxine McCarthy, Nicola Donovan, Richard Biddle, Rupert White, Eva Weaver, Roddy Hunter, Sara Jane Pell, Matt Hawthorn, Millgrim, Misha Myers, Polly Hudson and Florence Peake, Aileen Lambert, Melissa Longenecker, Richard Layzell, Jordan Mackenzie, FrenchMottershead, Slippery Fish, Helena Goldwater, Amanda Couch, Fran Cottell, Lucille Power, David Brinkworth, Victoria Melody, Gino Sacconi, Alastair Maclennan, Caroline Morris.

Click here for British Library Art Surgery Web Archive