© The Estate of Ian Breakwell. All rights reserved. DACS. 2023.

GROWTH 1969/73

Ian Breakwell (1943 – 2005)


33 X 243 CM
Accession number


GROWTH began to grow during 1968-69 when a series of black and white transparencies were made from the family photographic album, featuring me from babyhood onwards. These slides were used in conjunction with tape-recordings and live action as a series of performances during 1969. In the subsequent two years, the slide-sequence was edited, changed, added to, and in addition 16mm film footage was shot and the result was a series of film-slide-tape projection sequences shown during 1970-71. The 16mm film footage, running approximately 8 minutes at silent speed, consisted of a stencilled text spelt out partly letter by letter, partly word by word, which was intercut with a series of shots of my face and the back of my head, more slides were taken and the slide sequence was projected on top of the film image, exactly the same screen size: the superimposed projections were photographed as 35mm stills, printed postcard size, then each was sepia toned. I purchased a big, leather-bound photograph album, had the word GROWTH engraved in gold script on the cover, and mounted the photographs into it in sequence: the visual text spelt itself out throughout the album. So the work came full circle to a personal version of a family photograph album. I also made this version for display on the wall, in which the whole sequence of text and images could be seen simultaneously.

Cratylus The English Artist and The Word, The British Council, London 1979