Barry Sykes 

Born in 1976 Lives and works in London

email: barry(at)sykes(dot)tc

Instagram: @barrysykes


Barry Sykes' performance, sculpture and works on paper examine awkwardness, absurdity, authenticity and intimacy with recent projects involving Laughter Yoga, feedback forms, sauna culture and Naturism.

In his varied approaches he adapts basic and frugal handmade or digital techniques, in attempts to quantify experience and trace a line at the edge of inappropriate or unnecessary behaviour. Rooted in making and the object this open-ended approach has incorporated forgery, karaoke, astronomy, PowerPoint lectures, West End theatre and experimental photography.


Recent events have been presented at The Museum of London; Focal Point Gallery, Southend, UK; The University of Bath, UK; and as part of Art Night 2019. He has undertaken residencies around the UK, in Germany, Sweden and Finland.

Barry is the founder of the Sauna Reading Group.

*Continually rewritten and archived. This version 24/04/2020.

Residencies and Awards

2016-18 Artist in Residence, Oakwood Sun Club, Essex. In association with Radical Essex

2013/14 Research and production residency, ICIA, University of Bath, UK

11.2011 Research residency, Motorcycle Showroom, Bristol, UK

07.2011 Research residency, Gallery Maskinen, Umea, Sweden

2011/12 Research residency, i-Dat, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK

2010/11 Research, commission and exhibition residency, Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth, UK

02.2008 Six week residency and exhibition at Platform gallery, Vaasa, Finland

07.2005 Nominated for the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Visual Arts (with Sean Parfitt)

07.2004 Two month residency, 2YK Studios, Berlin 2004-05 Grizedale Arts Research and Development Bursary (with Sean Parfitt)

10.2003 Shortlisted for Bookworks Emerging Artists Commission

09.2002 10 day GARBA Residency, Montescaglioso , Italy

Art Education

1999 - 2000 MA Fine Art, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, UK

1995 - 1998 BA (Hons) Fine Art, Liverpool Art School, UK

1994 - 1995 Art Foundation Course, Thurrock Technical College, Essex, UK

1988 - 1994 Coopers Company & Coborn School, Upminster, Essex, UK

1986 - 1988 The Bell Junior School, Upminster, Essex, UK

1980 - 1986 Wykeham Primary School, Hornchurch Essex, UK

Other Income

2001 - Sole trader, Animals in Wire


Solo Exhibitions

04.2015 'Sociable Hermit', ICIA, University of Bath, UK

04.2014 "it must be told.", Enclave Guest Projects, Deptford, London

06.2011 'I Am Not Him And I Do Not Have Your Pen', solo Late at Tate evening, Tate St Ives, Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, Cornwall, UK

11.2011 'A Grey Area', Backside, The Motorcycle Showroom, Bristol, UK

01.2011 'Recreate A Nervy Pistol? (An Early Retrospective)'

Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth, UK

09.2009 'The Desperate Designer', Gallop, Deptford, London.

Part of The London Design Festival 2009

09.2008 'I Was Born On The Day Heidegger Died (But I Don't Know Much About His Work)', i-cabin, London

03.2008 'Tree Hugger', Platform, Vaasa, Finland

Selected Group Exhibitions/Events

05.2020 'Interruptions', Holden Gallery, Manchester, UK

06.2019 'Art Night Open', Walthamstow, London, UK

10.2017 ‘The Festival of Radical Fun’, Museum of London, UK

10.2017 ‘Concentric Zone Theory’ Division of Labour, London, UK

02.2016 'Manual Labours: The Complaining Body', The Peltz Gallery, Birkbeck College, London, UK

10.2015 'Hermits and Reliable Artists', Division of Labour, London, UK

08.2015 'To Pay Respect To The Generosity Of The Three Minute Punk-Rock Song Pt.2: Re-Edit'. BEEF, Bristol (Curated by Toby Huddlestone)

11.2014 'Macht', Group exhibition curated by Sandra Mann. Prevent, Frankfurt, Germany

11.2014 'Yearbook'. Group exhibition for Enclave 'Yearbook' edition portfolio. Enclave, Deptford, UK

09.2013 'The False Memory Archive', The Exchange, Penzance UK (Collaboration within A.R. Hopwood solo show)

09.2013 '4 Days: Curtain Call', Arnolfini, Bristol, UK

09.2013 'Leeds! Leeds! Leeds!', blip blip blip, Leeds, UK (Curated by Hayley Dixon)

03.2013 'L.I.E in London', Collaborative video work with Library of Independant Exchange, Hannah Barry Gallery, London

03.2013 'Misuse: Creating Alternatives', organised by the Curating the Contemporary MA, London Met Uni & The Whitechapel Gallery.

11.2011 'To Pay Respect To The Generosity Of The Three Minute Punk-Rock Song', Crate, Margate. (Curated by Toby Huddlestone)

02.2011 '£171', Project Space 11, Plymouth, UK

12.2010 'Virtually Worthless Decorative Objects', Project Space 11, Plymouth, UK

11.2010 'Ink', North Lodge, University College London.

08.2010 'Agitprop!', Project Space 11, Plymouth, UK

05.2010 'No Soul For Sale', Turbine Hall, Tate Modern. (Invited by i-cabin)

04.2010 'Multichannel', Artists film and video group show, Artsway, Sway, New Forest, UK

02.2010 'Performance Metrics', The Gallery, Goldsmith's College, London. (Curated by Elisa Kay and Shama Khanna)

Curated Projects

08.2012 'The Apocralypse' Inviting 22 artists to devise hypothetical events, one published each weekday throughout August 2012.

09.2008 'Resolution Way' reconfiguring the original exhibition for the Deptford X retrospective Exhibition, APT Gallery Deptford

07.2002 'Resolution Way', Deptford, London . Three projects

by Bob and Roberta Smith, Cesare Pietroiusti, Semloh Bbew &Artlab. (Co-curated with Emma Ridgway and Sean Parfitt).