Fine art alumnus Sam Belinfante awarded Artist at Soane Residency

Dr Sam Belinfante is one of two artists taking up residencies for 2023 at Sir John Soane’s Museum in London.

The museum is the extraordinary house of Sir John Soane, one of the greatest English architects, who built and lived in it two centuries ago.

Within Sir John Soane’s Museum, the Drawing Office is the earliest surviving example of a working architectural office. To mark the 200th anniversary of its installation, the museum has begun a programme of restoration, new multi-layered digital interpretation and the launch of the Museum’s first residency programme.

The residency will enable Sir John Soane’s Museum to develop its work with contemporary practitioners, whilst complementing the broader work of the organisation.

Two artist residents will be hosted annually from 2023, for three months each during the Spring and the Autumn.

The two residents for 2023 are University of Leeds fine art alumnus and audio-visual artist Sam Belinfante, and cartoonist and comics artist Ella Baron. They will each have the opportunity to work in the Drawing Office, in addition to access to the Museum’s collection, exhibitions and education programme to inspire and inform their work.

Artists Sam Belinfante and Ella Baron in the Drawing Office at Sir John Soane’s Museum

Sam Belinfante and Ella Baron in the Drawing Office at Sir John Soane’s Museum. Photo: Matt Tidby, © Sir John Soane’s Museum, London.

Sam Belinfante is a well-established artist whose practice incorporates curating, sound and performance, along with filmmaking and photographic work.

Sam graduated with a BA Fine Art from the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies in 2006. He returned to Leeds in 2011 to undertake a practice-led PhD on ‘The Voice and the Lens: Facing Technologies in the Audio-visual Installation’. Sam went on to establish the Centre for Audio Visual Experimentation (CAVE) whilst working in the school as a University Academic Fellow in Fine Art and Curatorial Practice.

Sam was an artist in residence at Camden Arts Centre between 2015 and 2016, where he created the performance On the One Hand and the Other. Most recently, he undertook a major commission for Folkestone Triennial in which he (re)imagined sites for sculpture and performance across Folkestone town with a mobile sculptural performance called after William Harvey’s key work of 1648, On the Circulation of the Blood.

Art installation by Sam Belinfante

On the Circulation of the Blood, Sam Belinfante, 2021. Work in progress. Image courtesy of the artist.

Sam Belinfante is the first artist to take up a residency at Sir John Soane’s Museum. For his residency, which began in April, he is studying Soane’s archives in relationship to ‘theatre’, and is making audio-visual recordings of the collections, focusing on drawings and models of theatrical spaces.

Sam said:

“During my residency in the museum, I've been working with light as a material, as a medium.

“Throughout every minute of the day here in the Drawing Office, the light is changing. The colours from the hand tinted windows are casting in different ways; the shadows of the objects are moving and changing; the blinds and shutters opening and closing.

“I'm really interested in how light has conjured its presence within the museum and within the artefacts and what I'm thinking about as theatrical aspects of the museum are really important to me. I've recently been spending time filming actors and performances in the space; really thinking across the performances and the bodies and into location and situation within these spaces.”

As part of his residency, Sam Belinfante will be in conversation with art historian Emerita Professor Griselda Pollock on 13 September where they will discuss ideas of theatricality, gesture and music within contemporary visual arts. Find out about A Convenient Place for our Rehearsal, including how to book your place.

Find out more about Sam Belinfante.

Feature image

Sam Belinfante in the Drawing Office at Sir John Soane’s Museum. Photo: Matt Tidby. © Sir John Soane’s Museum, London.