Scholarly biography and interests

Much of Sean Dower's research has explored film and video as a sculptural and performative medium. Alongside this, he produces work in installation, photography, live performance and music. Growing out of an interest in 'site-specific' artwork, Dower's research practice often responds to areas of personal interest or circumstantial potentialities. In this respect, collaboration and improvisation are key areas of interest.

In 1997 Dower worked with performers to create a site-specific, 3D film installation (No Room in Hell) for his solo exhibition at Matt’s Gallery, London. As well as the production and presentation of a number of live performance events, Dower has also been engaged in the translation of such events into discrete film-works.

In 2006, in collaboration with the artist Richard Wilson, Dower presented a unique live performance, which resulted in a DVD edition, both produced by the Timothy Taylor Gallery, London. Continuing to explore his interest in the sculptural manifestation of sound, in 2006 Dower completed a film commission - featuring the renowned improvising percussionist, Steve Noble. Using state of the art technology including High Definition film and a motion-control camera rig, the resulting film-work investigated space, motion, and live-performance. This was exhibited at Tate Britain in december 2006 and has since been exhibited in a number of cities in the UK and abroad. 

Sean Dower briefly studied Architecture, before studying Sculpture at Camberwell School of Art, London. Having engaged in experimental music and live performance before his studies, Dower became interested in the hidden legacy in the visual arts which 'performance art' represents. The physical elements of 'performance' still permeate his diverse projects, which have naturally included a strong 'live' element.

From 1988 -1992, Sean worked with the Bow Gamelan Ensemble performance group, presenting large-scale performances in unusual venues across Europe. After some exhibitions in London, he then pursued post-graduate studies in film and photography at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in the Netherlands. Since the second half of the nineties, Dower has curated and exhibited internationally, in artist-run spaces and in museums and commercial galleries. He has also been engaged in numerous live performance and music projects, which have usually been in direct relation to the visual arts. Exhibitions, films and performances have been presented at a range of venues, including at: Matt’s Gallery (UK) 1997, MOMA New York (US) 1998, W139 Gallery (NL) 2001, Queensland Art Gallery (Aus) 2004, Timothy Taylor Gallery (UK) 2006 and Tate Britain (UK) 2006.

Dower lives and works in London and lectures internationally at a number of Universities and institutions.

Research activity 

Number of items: 1.

Dower, Sean (2006) Automaton Tate Britain, London, UK.

This list was generated on Sat Nov 10 02:44:55 2018 GMT.



  • Automaton. Touring exhibition of film in exhibition ‘Single Shot’ ( Numerous venues, including: Tate Britain (December 2006); The Sage, Gateshead (1 - 15 February 2007); Birmingham Conservatoire (23 February – 10 March 2007). Co-exhibitors: George Barber, Clio Bernard, Ori Gerscht. Reviewed – Modern Painters (March)


  • Break it Down, a performance. Presentation of unique collaborative performance, mixed media. Venue: Timothy Taylor Gallery, Dering Street, London W1S 1TT. Date: 23 March 2006 (one night only). Dimensions: Variable / presentation to an audience of ~ 500 people. Collaboration with artist – Richard Willson. Limited edition DVD (300). Publication/review: The Wire Issue 267 (May)


  • Ab Ovo ( Publication/group exhibition. One story/chapter written for publication; sound recordings for exhibition. Venue: Steven Wolf Fine Arts, 49 Geary Street, Suite 411, San Francisco. CA 94108. Opening Dates: 3 Nov – 24 Dec, 2005. Works: 2. Dimensions: variable. Publications: ISBN 0967091349, Review in Artforum 11.08.05


  • Video Hits, Art & Music Video. Group exhibition of collaborative film-work. Queensland Art Gallery. Australia. 21 February – 14 June 04. Catalogue: ISBN 1 876509 85 6


  • The Greatest show on Earth. Group exhibition. Metropole Galleries, Folkestone, UK. 18 January – 2 March 2003


  • Air Guitar, Art Reconsidering Rock Music. Group Exhibition. Venues: Milton Keynes Gallery, UK (12 July - 1 September 2002); Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK (21 September – 3 November 2002); Tullie House, Carlise UK (22 March – 18 April 2003). Number of works Exhibited = two videos with sound. Dimensions: variable. Co-exhibitors: Peter Harris, Christian Marclay, Stephen Willats. Publication: ISBN 0953675572.


  • Audiopathological. Solo exhibition. Large-scale installation consisting of five works for video with sound. Venue: W139 Gallerie, Warmoestraat 139, 1012 JB, Amsterdam. Netherlands. Opening Dates: 15 – 30 September 2001. Included in Publication: ISBN 90753870302


  • No Room in Hell (Absent Qualia). Solo exhibition. Matt’s Gallery, London. 22 October 1997 – 14 December 1997.

Citations and reviews


  • Automaton, as part of exhibition 'Single-shot' reviewed in Modern Painters, March 2007. In his review Jonathan Romney wrote: "Equally commanding is Sean Dower’s 'Automaton,' a liesurely but rigorously calibrated cruise around a drum kit, every chromed curve of it contemplated in fetishistic detail while drummer Steve Noble plays a taut, pensive solo"


  • Break it down in collaboration with the artist Richard Wilson, at The Timothy Taylor Gallery, London. In The Wire magazine (issue 267, May 2006) Brian Dillon wrote a very positive illustrated review, where he likened the performance to a "blizzard of light and noise and observed that some of the visuals recalled the photographic experiments of Etienne-Jules Marey in the 1870s".


  • The film The Story of Dick Donkeys’ Dawn was shortlisted for the Ken Russell Short Film Award at the Clerkenwell film and video festival.
    "Dick Donkeys Dawn, a whirling dervish of a documentary, cut fast and full of strange, demented, decadent people. It was hilariously entertaining." (Ken Russell)

Grants and awards

Selected awards (not including grants awarded by Academic Institutions or budgets for exhibitions)


  • Film Commission Automaton as part of single-shot project organised by Film and Video Umbrella. £13,000. (Awarded through the Arts Council of Great Britain and the Film Council of Great Britain).


  • Arts For Everyone (through the National Lottery) – Film award to Alpha Rational and Dick Donkeys Dawn. Amount £4000. 3D Film produced

Juries, committees and editorial board

February 2004

  • On selection panel for ‘Sounding Out’ – A sound festival at University of East London
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