Biennale History





RS 1Richard Shields is a practicing Artist, Curator and Writer based in Manchester, UK. Alongside his personal art practice, Shields contributes to various arts journals including 'a-n' and lectures on his activities within Universities and Galleries throughout the UK and internationally.

After he co-founded the artist-led initiative 'Contents May Vary' in 2004, Shields went on to curate a series of site-responsive exhibitions throughout the UK, exploring and broadening the scope for an alternative to the gallery system. The site-specific features heavily In Shields' own work, where he uses everyday issues and the objects they provide as source material. Using traditional skills from drawing, painting and sculpture fused with found objects and relational aesthetics Shields' work looks to assess contemporary culture and values whilst offering a contextualized view in the same instance.

In 2012 the artist concluded a project in which he sold his own credit card debt as an artwork ('AdeptnessRS 2 Indebted' 2010-12); and in 2013 his project 'The Journey Of The Artist And The Price Of The Ticket' explored with great fascination the conjoined histories of Art, Banking and Religion.

Richard Shields' artworks often contain a duality between what is often seen as valuable permanence found in the process of drawing and mark making and the disposability of everyday encounters. Whilst producing contemporary works Shields looks to history both as an indicator and to contextualize events that occur in his own life and to the wider public. His past curatorial explorations in the site specific have seen him apply a range of media from oil paint to swimming pools, projectors and paper coffee cups. His topics of interest lie in financial posturing, religion and the autopsy of artistic process through an allegory with a sense of humour.

For the Mdina Cathedral Biennale Shields will be exhibiting his acclaimed From The Cradle To The Grave with Empty Pockets from his project 'The Journey Of The Artist And The Price Of The Ticket'. In addition, he will be creating a new work in response to his first visit to Malta in early 2015, taking inspiration from the presence of the Madonna throughout the Island as both a symbol of reflection and communal celebration.


Mdina Biennale Venues