ArtChevron Down Icon
Discord Icon

Brian Clarke: The Art of Light

Watch on YouTube

Youtube Filled Icon
Share Icon

Subscribe to HENI Talks Channel

A lifelong exponent of the integration of art and architecture, and celebrated for his paintings, sculpture, ceramics, mosaic, and his radical innovation in stained glass, Brian Clarke has been a major figure in contemporary art for the last four decades.

Distilling the euphoria of form and colour, Clarke's oeuvre is testament to the fact that 'artistic practice has the ability to change the shape of things, has the ability to transform the world.' This film charts his life and career from a modest upbringing in Oldham, through cutting-edge Punk years, to producing the single largest pieces of stained glass in the world at this time.

With contributions from Paul Greenhalgh, Director, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts; photographer Ralph Gibson; Dame Zaha Hadid; Sir Peter Cook; and June Osborne, DL, Bishop of Llandaff.


Time Period:


Ben Tufnell (b. 1969) is a curator and writer. He was previously a curator at Tate, Director of Exhibitions at Haunch of Venison, and is currently a Director of Parafin, an independent gallery in London. Tufnell has published widely and his books include Land Art (Tate Publishing, 2006) and Frank Stella: Connections (Hatje Cantz, 2012). In 2013-14 he co-curated the Arts Council Collection touring exhibition Uncommon Ground: Land Art in Britain 1967-79, which travelled to four UK museums. As an independent curator and writer Tufnell has collaborated with many international museums including the National Museums and Galleries of Wales, Cardiff, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Henry Moore Institute, Queensland Art Gallery, South African National Gallery, and MUAC in Mexico City, amongst others. His most recent book is In Land: Writings Around Land Art and Its Legacies (2019).Brian Clarke, painter and architectural artist, was born in Oldham, Lancashire, in 1953, and is the most celebrated stained glass artist in the world today.

A lifelong exponent of the integration of art and architecture, Clarke's commitment to total art has developed into a Renaissance engagement with multiple media -- from painting, sculpture, ceramics, mosaic, tapestry, jewellery and furniture, to sets for opera, the ballet, and stadia. Practising in secular and sacred spaces, his architectural collaborations include work with Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, Arata Isozaki, Oscar Niemeyer, I. M. Pei, Future Systems and other leading figures of Modern and contemporary architecture, creating stained glass designs and art installations for hundreds of projects worldwide.

His practice in architectural and autonomous stained glass, often on a monumental scale, has led to successive innovation and invention in the fabrication of the medium and, through the production of leadless stained glass and the creation of sculptural stained glass works made primarily or wholly of lead, he has radically stretched the boundaries of what the medium can do and express.

Major works include the Pyramid of Peace, KazakhstanVictoria Quarter Leeds, the largest stained glass roof in Europe; the Hôtel du département des Bouches-du-Rhône (Le Grand Bleu), Marseilles; the Royal Mosque of King Khalid International Airport, Riyadh; the 13th century Cistercian Abbaye de la Fille-Dieu, Romont; Buxton Thermal Baths' Cavendish Arcade; the Al Faisaliyah Center, Riyadh; Pfizer World Headquarters, Manhattan; Beaverbrook Coach House and Spa at Cherkeley Court; the Stamford Cone, Connecticut; and NorteShopping, Rio de Janeiro. Stage sets and designs for theatre include designs for two productions of Wayne Eagling's Rudolf Nureyev-tribute 'The Ruins of Time', with the Dutch National Ballet; Paul McCartney's World Tour (1989-90) and The New World Tour (1993); and a production of the Robert Ward opera 'The Crucible', directed by Hugh Hudson.

Clarke is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects; Fellow, Trustee, and Council member of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust; former Visiting Professor of Architectural Art at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London; former trustee and Chairman of the Architecture Foundation; Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; Honorary Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass; Hon. Doctor of Law, University of Huddersfield; Doctor of Humane Letters, Virginia Theological Seminary; former member of the Design Review Committee for the Commission of Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE);  Governor of the Capital City Academy Trust; Sole Executor and Chairman of the Estate of Francis Bacon; Trustee and Chairman of the Zaha Hadid Foundation.

Read More

Twitter Icon

Paul Greenhalgh is a writer and curator, Director of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, and Professor of Art History at the University of East Anglia (UK). His previous roles Include Director and President of the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington DC), President of NSCAD (Canada), and Head of Research at the V&A Museum.

His books include Ephemeral Vistas (1989), Modernism in Design (1993), Art Nouveau 1890-1914 (2000), The Modern Ideal (2004), Fair World (2012), L'Art Nouveau: la révolution décorative (2013), and Ceramic, art, and civilisation (2020).

He has chaired and served on various boards and committees, including the British Government's Research Excellence Framework for Art and Design (2010-2014), the University of Edinburgh's Arts Advisory Committee (2010-2015), the Bureau International des Expositions, Paris, and the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.

Read More

Discord Icon

Discuss With Our HENI Community

Join the HENI Community on Discord to discuss with over 20,000 community members

Watch More

Watch More