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James Paddock: Life could be done so much better

Sat 18 Nov 2023 - Sun 04 Feb 2024





Open Daily

James Paddock: Life could be done so much better

A solo exhibition of new video and installation works by artist James Paddock who explores the reality of Voice Hearing to create an insightful dialogue about his experience of living with a diagnosis of “schizophrenia”.

The centrepiece of the exhibition is an operatic video, “Mirrored to the Core”, a love story about two young Voice Hearers whose telepathic dialogue is represented through song.

An adjacent installation, “A duo becomes a quartet”, is inspired by the artist’s experience of mental illness treatment. It includes a new film that tells the story of two Voice Hearers who have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act, alongside a series of T-shirts printed with slogans reflecting on Voice Hearers’ experiences and on how things could be improved.

A further new video, “The way in which we journey”, displays a bittersweet tale of what Paddock describes as the celebration of finding an equilibrium as a Voice Hearer and the misdirected view of Voice Hearing in society.

Throughout, Paddock aims to address the stigma around mental health, specifically for Voice Hearers, while exploring the universality of the human condition hoping to reduce prejudices that have plagued Voice Hearers past and present.


The exhibition was developed in partnership with curator Lisa Slominski and is supported by Arts Council England



Online Screening | Wed 10 Jan, 6.30pm – 7.30pm

Join us for an online screening event and Q&A that gives a chance to see the three new artist’s films featuring in James Paddock’s current Exeter Phoenix solo exhibition, Life Could Be Done So Much Better.

In-conversation | Sat 27 Jan, 1.30pm 

The artist discusses the exhibition and its themes with curator Lisa Slominski.


Artist’s Choice Film Screening | Sat 20 Jan, 1.30pm 

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (2022, PG-13) Dir. Will Sharpe. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Claire Foy, Toby Jones.

The true story of the eccentric British ‘Cat Artist’ Louis Wain (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose playful, psychedelic pictures transformed the public’s perception of cats forever. Set in the early 1900s, it follows Wain as he seeks to unlock the “electrical” mysteries of the world and, in so doing, to better understand his own life and the profound love he shared with his wife Emily Richardson (Claire Foy). Selected by James Paddock to accompany the exhibition.

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