Axisweb Selects: Lesley Halliwell

Lesley Halliwell, If You Prick Us Do We Not Bleed? 2015

In our latest selection for CreativeTourist we look at the work of Lesley Halliwell

In Lesley Halliwell’s latest work, If You Prick Us Do We Not Bleed?, a brightly coloured parachute rises and falls to the sound of a boy’s laughter. The child in question is her son Patrick, who has a rare genetic condition that limits his ability to communicate and function like other children.

Patrick’s laughter reminds us that how things look from the outside may not necessarily reflect how it feels from within. “We live like a normal family”, says Lesley. “Just one that gets a little bit of extra help.”

This video piece is a new departure for Lesley. Until now she has mainly been known for her meticulous spirograph drawings, in which she employs ordinary coloured biro pens to build up dazzling geometric structures, often on a breathtaking scale. On the face of it, autobiography has little to do with their motivation and making.

Yet the artist sees a link between the repetitive, cell-like structures of her spirograph drawings and the more personal nature of her new film. In part, this is to do with the idea of mutation leading to systems failure.

But it’s also about the tension between surface and what lies beneath - Lesley’s awareness that people’s perception of what it means to be different is often so far removed from the underlying reality. “Appearances can be deceptive; the surface is not the whole story”, she notes.


If You Prick Us Do We Not Bleed? is part of an exhibition entitled SLIPPAGE: the Unstable Nature of Difference which offers an intimate perspective on the lived experience of physical and psychological difference through the work of 12 artists working in a range of media. 

The other artists in the exhibition are Katherine Araniello, Lisa Bufano & Jason Tschantré, Eric Fong, Paddy Hartley, Karen Heald & Susan Liggett, Andrew & Eden Kotting, Noemi Lakmaier, Daksha Patel, Jo Thorne, Alexa Wright and Chris Millward. Together, they question the uncertain boundaries of physical and psychological identity in a world that places great emphasis on beauty and perfection.

Sheila McGregor March 2015

SLIPPAGE:The Unstable Nature of Difference is curated by Lesley Halliwell and Jo Thorne and runs until 28 March 2015

This article was originally published on > 

Related content on Axisweb

Axisweb Selects: Liz West >