John Smith was born in Walthamstow, East London in 1952 and studied film at the Royal College of Art. Initially inspired by conceptual art and the structural materialist ideas that dominated British artistsí filmmaking during his formative years, but also fascinated by the immersive power of narrative and the spoken word, he has developed an extensive body of work that deftly subverts the perceived boundaries between documentary and fiction, representation and abstraction. Often rooted in everyday life, Smith's meticulously crafted films rework and transform reality, playfully exploring and exposing the language of cinema.

Since 1972 John Smith has made over fifty film, video and installation works that have been shown in cinemas, art galleries and on television around the world and awarded major prizes at many international film festivals. His solo exhibitions include Figge von Rosen Gallery, Cologne (2013), Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin (2013), Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover (2012), Turner Contemporary, Margate (2012), Weserburg Museum for Modern Art, Bremen (2012), Uppsala Art Museum, Sweden (2011), PEER Gallery, London (2011), Pallas Projects, Dublin (2011), Royal College of Art Galleries, London (2010), Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin (2010), Sala Diaz Gallery, Texas (2010), Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2006), Kunstmuseum Magdeburg (2005), Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool (2003) and Pearl Gallery, London (2002).  Major group shows include 'Constellations', Tate Liverpool (2013-14), 'Image Counter Image', Haus der Kunst, Munich (2012), 'Has The Film Already Started?', Tate Britain (2011-12), Berlin Biennial (2010), ‘The Talent Show’, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and MoMA PS1, New York (2010), Venice Biennale (2007), ‘A Century of Artists’ Film in Britain’, Tate Britain (2004), ‘Live in Your Head: Concept and Experiment in Britain 1965-75’, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2000) and ‘The British Art Show’, UK touring exhibition (1984). John Smith regularly presents his work in person and in recent years it has been profiled through retrospectives at film festivals in Oberhausen, Tampere, St. Petersburg, La Rochelle, Mexico City, Uppsala, Cork, Regensburg, Karlstad, Winterthur, Bristol, Hull and Glasgow.

John Smith lives and works in London. He teaches part-time at the University of East London where he is Professor of Fine Art. In 2011 he received a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists and in 2013 he was the winner of Film London's Jarman Award. His work is held in numerous collections including Arts Council England, Tate Gallery, Ella Fontanals-Cisneros, Kunstmuseum Magdeburg, Ferens Art Gallery and Wolverhampton Art Gallery. He is represented by Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin.

complete filmography

Triangles  1972, 3 mins, 16mm, colour, sound.

Someone Moving  1972, 5 mins, 16mm, colour, sound.

The Hut  1973, 5 mins, 16mm, colour, sound.

Words (collaboration with Lis Rhodes)  1973, 7 mins, 16mm, B/W, sound.

Out the Back  1974, 5 mins, Super 8mm, colour, silent.

William and the Cows  1974, 6 mins, 16mm, colour, silent.

Faces 1  1974, 11 mins, 16mm, B/W, silent.

Faces 2  1974, 3 mins, 16mm, B/W, silent.

Associations  1975, 7 mins, 16mm, colour, sound.

Leading Light  1975, 11 mins, 16mm, colour, sound.

Nine Short Stories  1975, 3 mins, 16mm, B/W, silent.

Subjective Tick-Tocks  1975, 11 mins, 16mm, B/W, sound.

The Girl Chewing Gum  1976, 12 mins, 16mm, B/W, sound.

Summer Diary  1976-7, 30 mins, 16mm, colour, sound.

Hackney Marshes
- November 4th 1977  1977, 15 mins, 16mm, colour, silent.

Gardner  1977, 6 mins, video from 16mm, colour, sound.

Hackney Marshes (TV version)  1978, 30 mins, video from 16mm, colour, sound.

7P  1978, 7 mins, 16mm, colour, sound.

Blue Bathroom  1978-9, 25 mins, 16mm, colour, sound.

Celestial Navigation   1980, 10 mins, 16mm, colour, sound.

Spring Tree  1980, 3 mins, 16mm, colour, silent.

Shine So Hard  1981, 32 mins, 16mm, colour, sound.

Light Sleep  1981, 6 mins, 16mm, colour, sound.

Shepherd's Delight  1980-4, 35 mins, 16mm, colour, sound.

Om  1986, 4 mins, 16mm, colour, colour, sound.

The Black Tower  1985-7, 24 mins, 16mm, colour, sound.

Dungeness (3 films for theatre production by Graeme Miller)  1987, 12 mins, 16mm, colour, silent.

Slow Glass  1988-91, 40 mins, 16mm, colour, sound.

Gargantuan  1992, 1 min, 16mm, colour, sound.

Home Suite   1993-4, 96 mins, video, colour, sound.

Blight  1996, 14 mins, video from 16mm, colour, sound.

The Kiss (collaboration with Ian Bourn)  1999, 5 mins, video from 16mm, colour, sound.

The Waste Land  1999, 5 mins, video, colour, sound.

Regression  1999, 17 mins, video, colour, sound.

Lost Sound (collaboration with Graeme Miller) 1998-2001, 28 mins, video, colour, sound.

Frozen War (Hotel Diaries 1)   2001, 11 mins, video, colour, sound.

Worst Case Scenario   2001-3, 18 mins, video from 35mm, colour & B/W, sound.

Museum Piece (Hotel Diaries 2)   2004, 12 mins, video, colour, sound.

Throwing Stones (Hotel Diaries 3)   2004, 11 mins, video, colour, sound.

B & B (Hotel Diaries 4)   2005, 6 mins, video, colour, sound.

Pyramids / Skunk (Hotel Diaries 5/6)   2006/7, 17 mins, video, colour,



Dirty Pictures (Hotel Diaries 7)   2007, 14 mins, video, colour, sound.    


Six Years Later (Hotel Diaries 8)  2007, 9 mins, video, colour, sound.

Flag Mountain  2010, 8 mins, HD video, colour, sound.   


Demo Tape  2010, 5 mins, SD video, colour, sound.   


unusual Red cardigan   2011, 12 mins, video, colour, sound.     


The Man Phoning Mum   2011, 12 mins, HD video, colour, sound.


Soft Work   2012, 37 mins, HD video, colour, sound.  


Dad's Stick   2012, 5 mins, HD video, colour, sound.  




The Kiss (collaboration with Ian Bourn)   1999, video installation for 2 suspended projectors and etched glass screens.

Rebus 2001, video loop for single monitor.                                           

Beside the A-Side (collaboration with Graeme Miller) 2002, video installation for 2 projectors and suspended screen.                                

Double Shutter   2010, 2 screen video installation incorporating material from 'Blue Bathroom' (1979-80)

Third Attempt  2010, 2 screen film and video installation incorporating '7P' (1978-9) and 'Regression' (1998-9).

unusual Red cardigan  2011, mixed media installation incorporating video, photographic prints and ready made objects.


Horizon (Five Pounds a Belgian)  2012,   HD video installation for single projector and purpose built space.