South African artist James Beckett was born in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1977. In 1999 he obtained his BAFA degree from Technikon Natal in Durban, and from 2001-2 studied at the Rijksakademie van BeeldendeKunsten in Amsterdam.
He is a conceptual artist, much of whose work deals with found historical objects. By re-working historical material, Beckett evokes memories of the past while simultaneously exploring the idea that just because an object comes from the past, this doesn’t mean its identity is fixed in the past. He creates installations whose objectives are intentionally not always clear and thus his work is vastly open to different interpretations.
Beckett has participated widely in international solo and group exhibitions, most recently at NeuerKunstverein in Vienna in 2011. In 2008 he undertook a residency at Récollets in Paris and the following year at KunstlerhauserWorpswede in Germany. He won the Prix de Rome for Art and Public Space with his research project « A Partial Museum of Noise » in 2003.

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