the experience of history

David Gledhill experience of history

the experience of history has been extended until February 24th

the experience of history is an exhibition of paintings, films and objects based on and incorporating amateur snapshots acquired from flea markets in Europe during the past 10 years.

Most of the photographs were taken between 1930 and 1945, and provide a glimpse of a momentous period in modern history, as recorded by citizen photographers.

The exhibition features four linked projects. ‘Poland 1940-1941’ is based on an album of photographs probably taken by a German civil administrator posted to Sosnowiec in southern Poland in June 1940. ‘The Berlin Olympic Village Project’ features paintings based on amateur snapshots of the Olympic Village during the Games in 1936, together with paintings and films that depict the Village as it appeared in 2016. ‘Karel/Karl’ includes paintings based on photographs from a box of personal effects that belonged to an ethnic German carpenter from Czechoslovakia, together with assemblages that combine furniture and suitcases with documents from the box. ‘Ruth Finger’ is based on a small wallet of personal photographs taken in Germany during the 1940s.

Timed to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the start of the Second World War and at a turning point in British history, the exhibition shows how previously tolerant populations can be persuaded to identify with extremist ideologies through a process of indoctrination, scapegoating and pageantry.

December 7 – January 24

Private View: Friday January 10 6-9pm.

Exhibition opening times: Every Monday, Thursday and Friday 12-5pm

(closed December 23 – January 6)

For further information contact:

David Gledhill

Tel: 07986 809740


Berlin 1936

In September 2015, myself and artists Margaret Cahill, Wolf Bertram Becker and Peter Lewis, were invited to visit the site of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Village by its current owner, DKB Stiftung für Gesellschaftliches Engagement Berlin, and Palis Advisory GmbH Berlin, who initiated and organised the project.

We have spent the past year producing work in response to the site, and Berlin 1936 is the first UK exhibition of the Project.

The first showing of the work took place in Berlin at DKB Deutsche Kreditbank’s headquarters during July and August 2016 and was transferred to the Gymnasium at the Village itself for Germany’s ‘Day of the Open Monument’ in September 2016.

This expanded UK edition of the Project includes painting, printmaking, collage, video and 3D pieces and features previously unseen and specially produced new work.

In Camera by Nicholas Royle and David Gledhill

Announcing the publication of In Camera, a collaboration between novelist Nicholas Royle and artist David Gledhill. In Camera is published on May 10th by Negative Press. It features short stories written in response to a series of paintings based on photographs in a family photograph album from the former GDR.

In Camera Cover


Link to promotional film for ‘McCarthyism’

'Dmytryk on Stand' 79x61cms

‘Dmytryk on Stand’  oil on canvas   79 x 61 cm  2013


February 4th – 28th 2016

Contemporary Art Space Chester

Kingsway Buildings, University of Chester CH2 2LB.


Curated by Mike Chavez-Dawson


Imagine a time when immigration was seen as a potential source of radicalism and sectors of the population were regarded as a dire threat to the State. At the start of the cold war in the USA, the communist threat was perceived as imminent and even Hollywood stars were not above suspicion.


McCarthyism is an exhibition of paintings by David Gledhill based on American press photographs of the ‘House Un-American Activities Committee’ hearings of the 1940’s and 50’s. The committee was dedicated to the exposure and elimination of the communist threat in every branch of American life. Trades unionists, teachers, secretaries, janitors, artists, actors, writers and directors were amongst those forced out of their jobs.


Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin did not sit on the committee himself, but his virulently anti-communist speeches of the early 1950’s gave rise to the term ‘McCarthyism’ which has become synonymous with the ‘red scare’ of the post-war years in the USA.


The source photographs used for the project were bought online from Detroit and Chicago newspaper archives using the search terms ‘communism’ and ‘photograph’. The backs of the photographs are covered with editor’s remarks and filing references which reflect general attitudes to the perceived communist threat, and these have been used for the titles of the paintings.


At a time of increasing surveillance and renewed talk of the ‘enemy within’, McCarthyism is a timely reminder of the dangers implicit in the narrowing of political life, and the risks to civil liberties of scapegoating minority groups in society.