Professor Chris Wainwright

Professor of Fine Art

University of the Arts London


Professor Chris Wainwright is a member of The Tate Britain Council, Past President of the European League of Institutes of the Arts and currently Chair of the Board of Trustees of Cape Farewell, an artist run organisation that promotes a cultural response to climate change.

As an artist and curator, his recent exhibitions include A Catalogue of Errors at the Diawa Foundation, London; Troubled Waters at The Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei; Futureland Now at the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle; Between Time and Space, Heijo Palace, Nara, Japan; The Moons of Higashiyama, Kodai-ji temple, Kyoto, Japan; Between Land and Sea at Box 38 Ostende, Belgium and Trauma at the Culturcentrum, Brugge in Belgium.

His work is currently being shown as part of the UK touring exhibition Fleeting Arcadias – Thirty Years of British Landscape Photography from the Arts Council Collection.

He has recently co-curated a major international touring exhibition for Cape Farewell called U-n-f-o-l-d that profiles the work of 23 international renowned artists addressing issues of climate change. The exhibition has been shown in Vienna, London, Newcastle, Newlyn, Liverpool, Chicago, New York, and Beijing.

Chris Wainwright’s work is held in many major collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; The Arts Council of England; Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris: the Polaroid Corporation, Boston, USA: and Unilever, London.

Research interests

Photography, moving image, environmental change, light, urban and natural space.

Research statement

Wainwright works primarily through photography and video as a means of addressing issues related to the effects of light, both natural and artificial, in urban and remote environments. The work is informed by a direct response to place and is often the result of an intervention, a temporary action or construction made for the camera as a unique form of witness for recording light. He is interested in the cause and effect relationship between urban and unpopulated spaces and the way light is deployed as a form of illumination, communication, invasion and pollution. Overall he has a concern for representing the issues and effects of environmental change though his direct presence, actions and journeys, always undertaken in darkness, and the way this can be part of a strategy of image making that does not rely on journalistic or didactic approaches but has its roots more in the pictorial traditions of painting.


Scott (Louis) SchwagerThe Relationship between Visual Arts, Performing Arts and Curatorial Areas: Implications for Collaboration and Co-authorship.

Selected research outputs

  • Pause

    Wainwright, Chris (2015) Pause. In: UAL Professorial Platform Series 2014-15, 17 March 2015, Chelsea College of Arts, 16 John Islip Street, London SW1P 4JU.

  • A Catalogue of Errors

    Wainwright, Chris (2013) A Catalogue of Errors. [Show/Exhibition]

  • Futureland Now

    Kippin, John and Wainwright, Chris (2012) Futureland Now. University of Plymouth Press, Plymouth, England. ISBN 9781841023236

  • SCOPE New Photographic Practices

    Ingham, Mark and Baseman, Jordan and Newth, Martin and Wainwright, Chris (2011) SCOPE New Photographic Practices. [Show/Exhibition]

  • Rising and Falling – Only Time Will Tell

    Wainwright, Chris (2010) Rising and Falling – Only Time Will Tell. [Art/Design Item]

  • U-n-f-o-l-d

    Wainwright, Chris and Buckland, David (2010) U-n-f-o-l-d. [Show/Exhibition]

  • Red Ice - White Ice

    Wainwright, Chris (2009) Red Ice - White Ice. [Art/Design Item]

  • Semaphores

    Wainwright, Chris (2009) Semaphores. [Art/Design Item]

  • Chris Wainwright (Head of College, CCW) in conversation with Venu Dhupa

    Wainwright, Chris and Tatchell, Nick (2008) Chris Wainwright (Head of College, CCW) in conversation with Venu Dhupa. In: Chris Wainwright (Head of College, CCW) in conversation with Venu Dhupa, 10/06/08, Chelsea Lecture Theatre.

  • If you believe they put a man on the moon

    Wainwright, Chris (2008) If you believe they put a man on the moon. [Art/Design Item]