top of page

My name is Bob Bicknell-Knight (b. 1996, Ipswich, United Kingdom) and I’m a multidisciplinary artist and curator working with digital media producing films, paintings, sculptures and installations.

 

My practice comes from a place of cynicism, exploring power structures that proliferate online and in new forms of technology, with a particular interest in the automation of work and hyper-consumerism. I’m influenced and inspired by our pre-apocalyptic present, climate collapse, virtual worlds and 24/7 hyper-capitalism.

I am currently looking to both continue and expand upon these projects, digging deeper into the philosophy and minutiae behind the production of games whilst broadening my reflections and knowledge regarding societal collapse in relation to the climate crisis.

The start of my current focus, exploring video game spaces, was in early 2022 when I underwent a residency in Vilnius, Lithuania, at SODAS 2123 Artist in Residence. During my one month stay I spent time learning to use the game development software Unity to understand how the games we play are created, producing a playable experience towards the end of the residency.

Studio_Bob_Bicknell_Knight_Reduced.jpg

Studio portrait, 2022

Later in the year I had a solo exhibition in Kassel, Germany, at Galeria Kollektiva, titled Non-Player Character, which then travelled to Klaipėda, Lithuania, at Klaipėda Exhibition Hall in 2023. The exhibition looked at the many facets of non-player characters (NPCs) in video games, from their looping lives to the repetitive dialogue that they bark at the player character, as a metaphor for the boundaries of human action within an increasingly algorithmic, surveilled existence. For the exhibition I produced a series of hybrid paintings, printed and partially painted onto canvases, in 3D printed frames, depicting the landscapes of different game worlds and texts repeatedly spoken by NPCs. Also included was a CGI film composed of different NPCs falling into a white space, breaking apart and becoming a homogenized whole; an interactive NPC graveyard where audiences could explore a game space filled with NPC graves and a series of sculptures featuring stacked crates with 3D printed objects from different games.

In 2023 I had two solo exhibitions in London, UK and Berlin, Germany, Insert Coin and Sunday School, looking at gambling mechanics being inserted into video games as a gateway to talking about how our collective lives are becoming increasingly gamified. Insert Coin at Cable Depot, London, included an interactive element, a spinnable painting that enabled audiences to win small sculptures as a reward for visiting the exhibition, as well as a large-scale sculpture of a loot box, resembling a robotic tick, from the video game Apex Legends, suspended from the ceiling in the gallery space.

 

Later in 2023, Sunday School at Number 1 Main Road, Berlin, took these ideas further, where I developed my own loot box from a fictional video game. A loot box is a virtual item in video games that players can purchase or earn, containing random in-game items, often cosmetic or functional, contributing an element of chance to the player's acquisition. Within the show the loot box was anthropomorphized and called Wally, appearing throughout the show as child-sized sculptures in various poses and the focus of a CGI video, speaking about their experiences of being a loot box, continually being derided by players.

In 2024 I opened a duo show at The Cut in Halesworth, UK, called Logging Off, that explored the software used to make video games as a device for beginning a dialogue around late capitalism and anxieties surrounding the pre-apocalypse, including sculptures of 3D models used in games and hybrid paintings of 3D models of animals within fabricated game spaces.

Also in 2024 I had a solo exhibition, Asset Flip, at SEAGER, London, UK, which included new work accompanied by some earlier pieces included in Logging Off. The exhibition was the culmination of a four part exhibition series that I organised for the gallery, working with artists who who are inspired by and work within video game worlds, exploring a range of diverse ideas from the architecture of game spaces to violence, war and politics in the digital realm. The shows included paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, films, playable experiences and in-game performances.

In late 2024 I will begin a two year Masters in Contemporary Art at the Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA) in Tallinn, Estonia, where I will continue to examine video game spaces as a vehicle for exploring climate collapse and forms of hyper-capitalism.

-/-

I'm also the founder and director of isthisit?, a platform for art that’s specialised mainly in digital art since its creation in May 2016, and have worked with hundreds of artists since its inception. Through the platform I curate online and offline exhibitions, host a residency programme and have designed and edited a series of books, focusing on a number of broad themes from contemporary modes of surveillance to fake news and video game culture

Selected solo and duo exhibitions include Asset Flip at SEAGER, London, UK (2024); Logging Off at The Cut, Haleworth, UK (2024); Sunday School at Number 1 Main Road, Berlin, Germany (2023); Insert Coin at CABLE DEPOT, London, United Kingdom (2023); Non-Player Character at Klaipėda Exhibition Hall, Klaipėda, Lithuania (2023); Non-Player Character at Galeria Kollektiva, Kassel, Germany (2022); Digging History at INDUSTRA, Brno, Czech Republic (2021); Eat The Rich at Galerie Sono, Paris, France (2021); It's Always Day One at Office Impart, Berlin, Germany (2021); Bit Rot at Broadway Gallery, Letchworth, United Kingdom (2020); The Big Four, duo show with Rosa-Maria Nuutinen at Harlesden High Street, London, United Kingdom (2019); Wellness, Ltd., duo show with Erin Mitchell at Galerie Manque, New York, USA (2019); State of Affairs at Salon 75, Copenhagen, Denmark (2019); CACOTOPIA 02 at Annka Kultys Gallery, London, United Kingdom (2018) and Sunrise Prelude at Dollspace, London, United Kingdom (2017).

I have spoken on panel discussions and given artist talks at Vilnius Academy of Arts, Vilnius, Lithuania (2022); Mezanin, Bucharest, Romania (2021); panke.gallery, Berlin, Germany (2021); Contemporary Calgary, Canada (2020); Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom (2019); University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom (2019); Camberwell College of Arts, London, United Kingdom (2019) and Goldsmiths, University of London, London, United Kingdom (2018).

My work is held in private collections in London (UK), Paris (FR), The Netherlands (NL), Berlin (DE), Copenhagen (DK), Stockholm (SE), Helsinki (FI), New York City (USA), Seattle (USA), Italy (IT), Montreal (CA), Hong Kong (HK) and others.

 

bottom of page