Sharon Kivland was born in Germany. She studied at Liverpool School Art and at the London College of Printing. She later undertook an MA in Art History at Goldsmiths College in London and became a senior lecturer in the School of Cultural Studies at Sheffield Hallam University. Kivland’s work in the British Council Collection was made shortly after she graduated from the London College of Printing, and was working in a toyshop to support her photography. Her work at this time was very different in approach to the work being shown in the specialised photographic galleries. The subject matter was inconsequential - toys from the shop where she was working, stuffed animals in the Natural History Museum, objects in shop windows, plastics and ephemera laid out on the floor of her home The technique too was puzzling - blurred images taken more often with a simple Instamatic camera, incompetent to describe the objects photographed. Again, the organisation of the pictures was gauche - Kivland herself described it as ‘arbitrary’, ignoring compositional conventions, dissolving spatial relationships. Finally the works were in colour, at a time when most creative photography had turned away from colour as the province of advertising and fashion. Kivland’s use of colour was the crux of her work and her subject matter was chosen for its chromatic values, with focus and composition dissolved to subvert the usual apprehension of the photograph as perspective box. By these means Kivland directed attention to the photographic surface, a flat field on which form and colour were disposed.

Photography as Medium, The British Council 1981