Recognised as one of the Young British Artists, Richard Billingham’s work comes in photographic, pictorial or videographic format and deals with domestic and class issues. It was included in the exhibition Sensation (1997) which, with the support of the advertising agent and collector Charles Saatchi, launched the generation of British artists to which he belongs. He was also a Turner Prize finalist in 2001, when the work of English artists was all the rage.
He graduated from the University of Sunderland in 1994, and in the same year showed his emotive, raw, direct work. His own family, a clear example of the destructuring that affects the members of the (increasingly poor) lower middle classes of British society, became his material. The leading characters are his father, his mother, his brother and the family flat, and through them he deals with subjects such as alcoholism, poor education, despair, love or lack of communication. The members of his family take part in his work, offering to be photographed or recorded on video, making their private lives public.
In pieces more related to the landscape too, his work is an approach to human complexity.