John Murphy has created a visual and conceptual complex configurations of found images, objects and texts using post cards, books, film shots, painting and poetry. Whilst playing on the theme of similarity and difference, he creates a new relationship involving vision, things and language. John Murphy’s art historical influence can be traced through a specifically European Symbolist-based conceptual tradition descending from Mallarmé and Jarry through to Duchamp, Magritte and Broodthaers. The artist’s process of accumulating and arranging fragments of images and language is echoed in the viewer’s experience by the finished exhibition, where memories of things shape the perception of other things yet to be seen. The blurring effect of boundaries between past and present is emphasized by Murphy’s habit of revisiting his own material and representing previously exhibited works in different configurations potentially generating new meanings. Neither a purely perceptual or conceptual experience, an exhibition is conceived as a work of art in itself, creating a space where the viewer establish the relationship between reading and seeing, and where the meaning is necessarily changing.
John Murphy lives and works in London. He presented his work in many personal exhibitions: Aquisitions from the late 90s at the Tate Britain, London in 1998; A Conversation Piece with Juilâo Sarmento, Museum of Modern Art, Oxford; John Murphy Whitechapel Art Gallery, London 1987-88; Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol 1988; The Way Up and The Way Down, Southampton City Art Gallery and Museum, Southampton; A Portrait of the Artist as a Deaf Man, The Douglas Hyde Gallery Dublin 1996, John Murphy, Villa Arson Nice 1997, And Things Throw Light of Things, Ikon Gallery and Barber Institute, Birmingham, 2004-05., Trondhein Kunstmuseum 2013 .His last major exhibition took place at the Art Museum of Trondheim in Norway in 2013. A publication of his work is in preparation at Ridinghouse publishers in London.