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Mick Finch

Professor of Research
Central Saint Martins
Email address
Researcher Research
Michael  Finch


Mick Finch’s research takes the form of studio practice, writing and research projects. He has published widely on visual art practices and is an associate editor of the Journal of Visual Art Practice and the Journal of Contemporary Painting for which in 2015, he co-edited a special edition on Simon Hantai’s work and, in 2019, an issue about the legacy of Yve-Alain Bois’ book, Painting As Model. He lived, exhibited and taught for 20 years in France and has written extensively about post-war French art. He leads the Tableau research project at CSM an outcome of which was the conference Tableau: Painting Photo Object at Tate Modern in 2011. More information can be found on the Tableau project’s blog.

He is a member of the French research group Peinture: un réseau de recherche funded by the French Ministry of Culture. In 2011 he was an Abbey Fellow in Painting at the British School in Rome and he is a Senior Scholar of the Terra Foundation in Paris. He is currently a member and the interim chair of the Faculty of Fine Art at the British School at Rome ( where he is also a trustee and member of Council. He is a member of the Artistic Committee of the Fluxus Art Projects group based at the Institut Français in London (

Mick Finch’s studio practice was initially based in painting. Since the exhibition Closer Than You Think (Art et Patrimoine, Paris, 1998) his work has increasingly engaged with questions of image and abstraction, moving away from specific questions of painting in favour of open pictorial regimes.

In the article Studio notes: Closer Than You Think, Ply- series, Riposte, Sublimey and Nevermind (The Journal of Visual Art Practice, n°. 8.1/2., 2009) he developed a discussion around his studio practice focusing on the modes of address of images as being akin to rhetorical and aesthetic structures.

From 1996 his work increasingly used image mediation and projection in the production of work and he discussed this context in the article The Night Shift (Contemporary Magazine n°. 58, 2003). Finch lived and worked in France from 1991 – 2008 and became increasingly interested in post-war French and particularly the work of groups such as Supports-surfaces, Ja na pa and BMPT. This was reflected in many of his writing and in terms of the critical context of his studio practice. He formulated a project that examined a problematic whereby, in French the term tableau is often mobilized as an alternative to painting This distinction seems one reason why ‘expanded’ forms of painting in France are very distinct in their engagement from non-French manifestations. He gave a talk about his own work in 2009 for ICFAR in London that discusses in detail these issues.

He established the Tableau Project in 2010 that included a research symposium (the proceedings of which were published by the Journal of Visual Culture, Volume 12, Number 1 in 2013, the conference, Tableau: Painting, Photo, object) at Tate Modern in 2011 and a series of seminars The Tableau Form: methodology and composition given by Jean-François Chevrier at CSM in 2011. Finch’s work from 2010 onward became increasing involved with photo-relief structures and ideas of collage and montage that derive much context from the work of Aby Warburg. This work was developed through a residency at the British School at Rome in 2011 and in the solo exhibition Engrams (The Piper Gallery, London, 2013).

Since 2015 Finch has worked on questions related to Aby Warburg’s methodologies and has published a series of articles that explore the technical apparatus Warburg utilised. This was in the context of papers presented during Martin Westwood’s Headstone to Hard Drive project. Finch and Westwood collaborated with the Bilderfahrzeuge research project at the Warburg institute in London and staged a colloquium event at the Warburg Haus in Hamburg in June 2016, the proceedings of which were published in a special edition of the Journal of the Philosophy of Photography. This focus upon photographic ‘synoptic’ methodologies and archival practices is reflected in the series of works that Finch has been working on, since 2014, entitled ‘The Book of Knowledge’. He has scanned all of the images from a set of encyclopedia volumes of this name, originating from the 1950s, reworking and exploring them as digital files, outputting them as archival digital prints.

From 2019-2020 he collaborated with the Warburg Institute and the Bilderfahrzeuge research group on an AHRC funded project entitled A Vision for Europe: Academic Responsibility and Action in Times of Crises of which he was the Principle Investigator (

He is currently working on another archival project entitled Imagining Futures through Un/Archived Pasts funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund and for which he is a Co-Investigator ( The project started in June 2020 with a duration of 4 years.

He is also a senior participant in the project T-Factor, funded by the EU Horizon 2020 scheme ( The project started in June 2020 with a duration of 4 years.

Grants and awards

(Figures indicate amount awarded to UAL)

Research Outputs


Conference, Symposium or Workshop item