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Ben Malcolmson by Chad Alexander, 2020

Born June 1, 1999, (Belfast)

Ben Malcolmson (b.1999) is a visual artist from and based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Ben works within the parameters of photography, video and sculpture exploring alternative photographic processes with relation to one’s land and identity. He is the current full-time Assistant Curator at Belfast Exposed Gallery.

Bio & Career

In 2019, Ben was awarded to be apart of Making Marks by the Arab British Centre, funded by the British Council Kuwait. Making Marks, explored the impact of international working on emerging artists. Ben’s residency to Kuwait was one stage in the Making Marks project. Over several months, Ben worked with Belfast Exposed Gallery on a body of work titled Murmur which was exhibited in the gallery as a solo show during February 2020.

He is a recent graduate from Ulster University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, graduating with a First Class Honours in Bachelor’s of Photography with Video, his previous studies include undertaking his Erasmus studies (2019-20) at The Royal Academy of Art, The Hague in Bachelor’s of Photography.

Awards and honours


Solo exhibitions

  • 2022, Lands In-between, (Duo Exhibition) Kwok Tsui & Ben Malcolmson, QSS, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Run 04.08.22-25.07.22
  • 2020,  Murmur, Belfast Exposed, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Run 06.02.20 -29.02.201 2

Group exhibitions


Lands In-Between (2022) 

Ben Malcolmson invites us to pay attention to the surface of the image as we look through it to the space it denotes. In Malcolmson’s photographs, the irregular recesses and protrusions of the rocky places the photographs represent are both divested of their legibility and made literal by the crumpling of the paper they are printed on. In his video work, two projected images coexist or compete on the same surface and abolish the thousands of miles between the places they were filmed. These artists, in their reflexive engagement with the spatial mechanics of the traditions and mediums in which they work, offer new ways of thinking about our movement through the material world.

Atlas of Residual Traces (2021) 

As a native Belfaster and an adopted Dubliner, our collaboration attempts to embed our lived experience in urban landscapes that can be impermeable and at times hostile to the queer body. GPS satellites, used by corporations and governments to surveil movement patterns, allowed us to record digital tracings along our daily routes. LIDAR sensors, which model both terrain and biometrics, capture clouds of points that flow between a representation of a body and a landscape. Embedding these digital traces among an assemblage of historical maps ranging from 1685 until 1838 asserts our own role in co-creating the urban fabrics of Dublin and Belfast, not out of any sense of ownership or mastery, but simply by being in and moving through space.


Untitled (a various group of bodies) (2021) 

Employing photography in their work to propose how the idea of a future can be visualised, predicted and prepared for. Four artists from across the island of Ireland were selected for their innovative interpretations of the theme, Ben Malcolmson explores the medium’s potential to expand and thrive in a multidisciplinary approach that utilises photography as a point of departure. Their varying practices touch upon queer identity and experience, safe and reimagined space, decay and ruin, analogue and AI technologies. These concepts are collectively re-examined as narratives for possibility.


Murmur (2020) 

Delving into the connection of migration and selfhood, Murmur explored the subtle changing relationship within one’s identity and nature. Ben transferred Northern Ireland’s torn history and identity to material pictures of a struggle through the self. Exploring the mediums of photography, sculpture and multi-media, Murmur addressed the deep cultural heritage of Irish linen and handwoven fabric through site-specific sculptural and video installations that harked back to the history of the industry. As well as resonating the past, Ben commented on the current state of the region, through poetic gestures of self. Ben responded to the political climate in which identity and sense of self are heavily constrained, resulting in a series of self-portrait images that explored the material nature of the photographic image through various traditional and alternative methods of image-making.