CAPSID is a new multi-media installation by London-based British artist John Walter (b.1978). The result of collaboration between Walter and molecular virologist Professor Greg Towers of University College London, the show addresses a crisis of representation surrounding viruses such as HIV, by bringing new scientific knowledge about viral capsids to the attention of the wider public. Made possible by a Large Arts Award from the Wellcome Trust and funding from Arts Council England Grants for the Arts, CAPSID spans both galleries at CGP London – The Gallery and Dilston Grove – from 17 May until 8 July 2018 and tours to HOME in Manchester in Autumn 2018. Admission is free.

Capsids are protein shells contained within viruses that help protect and deliver viruses to host cells during infection. The project uses the imagery and narratives associated with the ground breaking scientific research around capsids to create a new immersive installation featuring drawings, paintings, prints, sculptures, costumes, videos, film and sound. The exhibition seeks to update the representation of HIV and other viruses using spatial design and a maximalist aesthetic.

CAPSID builds on Walter’s previous projects, including Alien Sex Club (2015), in which he sought to update the discussion around HIV.

As John Walter says:
‘Virology has a lot to teach us about how ideas and cultural forms are spread, how they inveigle themselves into existence and how they mutate in order to survive. It seems to be that discussion of memes is hackneyed at this point and so going deeper into the science is a way of refreshing the discussion.’

Dr John Walter lives and works in London. He is an artist and academic working across a diverse range of media that include painting, moving image and installation. He studied at The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art The University of Oxford, The Slade School of Fine Art UCL and completed a PhD in the Faculty of Architecture and The Built Environment at The University of Westminster. He was awarded the Sainsbury Scholarship at The British School at Rome in 2006 and was a participant at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2012. His work is held by a number of public collections including the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. His public commission for Thames Tideway is installed at Chambers Wharf in Bermondsey. He won the Hayward Curatorial Open for Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness, which opened at the MAC, Belfast and travels to the DCA, Dundee and Bury Art Museum. Recent exhibitions include: Alien Sex Capsule (Artlink, Hull 2017); The Zany Capsid (Hardwick Gallery, Cheltenham 2017); EssexRoad III (Tintype Gallery, London 2016); Alien Sex Club (Ambika P3, London 2015); Courtship Disorder (White Cubicle Toilet Gallery, London 2015); Turn My Oyster Up (Whitstable Bienniale, 2014). He will be included in Something in Between: Four Collaborative Projects at The Wellcome Collection in Spring 2018.

The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. It provides more than £700 million a year to support bright minds in science, the humanities and the social sciences, as well as education, public engagement and the application of research to medicine.

Launch Gallery