UCL Urban Laboratory

Prof Kieren Reed

Prof Kieren Reed

Professor of Fine Art / Slade Professor

The Slade School of Fine Art

Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Joined UCL
21st Sep 2010

Research summary

Sculpture as Architecture

Exploring the conceptual space between form and functionality and the artist’s inimitable skill of making, artworks are positioned as sites for engagement and discourse. Artworks act both in real terms as well as simultaneously functioning aesthetically as sculpture. This duality ensures they never become static works, but part of a negotiation both functional and purely aesthetic.This research explores the basic human desire to make or find a personal space, refuge or sanctuary as well as the artist’s specific need to occupy a studio – a place where one can go to research, collect, ;explore and display ideas. By sharing this creative, generative process with the audience, this allows a portrait of the artist at that given moment, a rare ;insight into how the idea is translated into the material.

Social Architecture 2008 - 2015

A series of sculptural installations are conceptually linked;to a specific site, space or situation. The works themselves are only;‘activated’ through the relationship with their potential audience – becoming a site for exchange, the transfer of information and the initiation of discussion– the ultimate synthesis between the physical and discursive dimensions of sculpture.

Changeable environments in line with concurrent exhibition programming at both IKON and Tate Britain, these interventions are produced after research with local groups and audience, exploring the concepts of usable space and notions of display and museology within functionality. Spaces must be entered into – moving the audience into an alternative possibility, placing an emphasis onto them in terms of their interaction with the structure. These interventions create an experience in itself, encouraging active engagement from the viewer and moving them into and around the artwork, considering its function within the context of a wider gallery collections.

Sometimes empty, these interventions have the potential for either/both events and display, with built in vitrines, shelving and cases that remain integral to the structure and are part of the work whether functioning as display spaces or not.

Teaching summary

Director / Head of Department 
Slade School of Fine Art.


Institute of Education
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education | 2012
University of the Arts
Other higher degree, Master of Arts | 2007
Kingston University
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) | 1999


Kieren Reed's practice encompasses sculpture, performance and installation, from studies in form to the production of architectural structures. Artworks are most often linked to a place, a site or a consideration of a space or situation. Taking an interest in the conceptual space between form and functionality, the real and the fabricated, artworks explore the artistic task of imitating reality, considering their own utility to society. Presenting them provides a public stage for the 'private' principle of work. Their meaning is in their use, needing both to act in real terms as usable forms as well as simultaneously functioning aesthetically as sculpture. The use value of the work is manifested by being engaged with by the public and audience. It then becomes real - a simulacra of itself. This duality ensures it never becomes a static work, always being part of a negotiation.