Mark Wallinger was born in Chigwell, England in 1959. He studied at Loughton College, Essex, 1977 - 78, Chelsea School of Art, London, 1978–81, and finally at Goldsmiths College, London, 1983 – 85. Wallinger was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1995, and won the award in 2007. He was awarded a Henry Moore Fellowship at the British School in Rome, 1998 and undertook a DAAD International Artists Programme, Berlin, 2001. He represented Britain at the 49th Venice Biennale, 2001. Wallinger lives and works in London.
His early works reflected his roots in the tradition of British left-wing thought, and for his work to have broad appeal. For the Turner Prize exhibition in 1995, his work took his interest in horse racing as a metaphor for the British fixation with class and breeding. He extended the Duchampian idea of the ready made to include an actual race horse named by the artist A Real Work of Art (1994), (the horse was trained in Newmarket but ran only one race before being injured.) Yet on a more general level, his work can also be read as a satire of late twentieth century British identity: its historical myths, traditions, ceremonies and social systems.
Royal Ascot, one of the most famous and exclusive horse races in the world, takes place every year, and is renowned for its royal pageantry and tradition. In Wallinger’s work entitled Royal Ascot (1994), the artist presents the British Royal Family’s processions during this event in their stunning horse-drawn carriages whilst the national anthem is being played, ceremony at its finest. Yet here he has taken footage from several processions from consecutive days and has looped these to play on four monitors. The repetition of the event brings to light its highly ritualised aspect, as well as the mechanical gestures of the Royal Family. Despite the protagonists’ changing outfits, Wallinger brings to light the absurdity of customs, and the highly constructed nature of British pageantry. The work is displayed on four flight cases, in a procession, as a satire on the highly artificial nature of the Royal procession.
In 2008 Wallinger was one of five artists shortlisted for a competition to create a public sculpture in Ebbsfleet, south east England, as part of the regeneration of the area. His proposal to construct a 50 metres high recreation of a thoroughbred racehorse won the competition in 2009.
Selected recent solo exhibitions include: Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London, Carlier Gebauer, Berlin 2010; Kunstmuseum Aarau, Switzerland 2008; State Britain, Tate Britain, London, Donald Young Gallery, Chicago, 2007; National Gallery, Prague 2006; Museo de Arte Carillo Gil, Mexico City 2005. In addition, Wallinger’s work was included in major group exhibitions such as Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi collection, London, Berlin and New York 1997-9, 5th Istanbul Biennale, 1997.
Made in Britain Contemporary Art from the British Council Collection 1980-2010,China Federation of Literary and Art Circles Publishing Corporation 2010. ISBN 978-7-5059-7014-4.