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Katrina Palmer is the National Gallery’s 2024 Artist in Residence

Katrina Palmer, a London-born and based artist, is the National Gallery’s new Artist in Residence for 2024, it was announced today.

The award is a collaboration with the Contemporary Art Society, generously supported by Anna Yang and Joseph Schull, who will acquire an artwork produced during the residency for this year’s Partner Museum, Touchstones Rochdale.

Palmer’s work explores a range of spaces from island quarries to offices, prisons to coastal landscapes. Using objects, sound, writing and drawing she investigates the possibilities of sculpture through text and language. Previous projects have engaged with concepts of absence and dislocation within historic sites.

Palmer has been invited to respond to the collections of the National Gallery and Touchstones Rochdale. She will begin her residency in December 2023 and will work over the course of a year in the National Gallery’s on-site artist’s studio, benefiting from the close proximity to the collection and archives. This will culminate in a publication and a presentation in autumn 2024, and an acquisition to Touchstones Rochdale.

Image: Katrina Palmer, The National Gallery Artist in Residence 2024

The jury found the way that Palmer has previously embedded herself within sites to develop her projects as an appealing prospect for both the National Gallery and Touchstones Rochdale. The panel consisted of Sorcha Carey, Director, Collective, Edinburgh; Rosie Cooper, Director, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge; Caroline Douglas, Director, Contemporary Art Society; Sarah Hodgkinson, Senior Curator – Collections and Exhibitions, Touchstones Rochdale, Rochdale and Liz Mytton, Director, Theatre in Flow, Rochdale; Elizabeth Price, Artist and Professor at the School of Art, Kingston University; and chaired by Daniel F. Herrmann, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Projects, the National Gallery, London.

The Artist in Residence programme invites a mid-career artist to develop their practice in the context of the museum and to benefit from unparalleled access to the Gallery’s collection. The partnership between the National Gallery and Touchstones Rochdale allows the artist to respond not only to one of the greatest collections of paintings in the Western European tradition, but also an outstanding collection in the borough of Rochdale covering a wide range of subjects, from visual art to archaeology, social history to costume and textiles. In a move to enrich regional collections, the residency enables a work by Palmer to travel to Rochdale, where it will be acquired by the Contemporary Art Society for Touchstones Rochdale’s permanent collection.

Palmer is the fourth Artist in Residence to be chosen since the launch of the Gallery’s new Modern and Contemporary Programme, following the appointment of Rosalind Nashashibi in 2019, Ali Cherri in 2021 and Céline Condorelli in 2022.

Katrina Palmer says: ‘I’m thrilled to have been selected as the National Gallery’s Artist in Residence. The spectacular imagery and narratives of the collection and the various movements of power at play are as intriguing as they are challenging. The prospect of working in the context of these artworks is genuinely exhilarating.’

Caroline Douglas, Director of the Contemporary Art Society, says: ‘Now going into its fourth year, this residency project has established itself as a unique opportunity for an artist to engage with two UK institutions of very different scale and circumstances. The programme at Touchstones Rochdale has been very impressive for many years, championing women artists in particular and leading the way in engaging with its communities. I am confident that Katrina Palmer will find it an enriching experience to spend the coming year exploring all the possibilities the residency offers.’

Mark Doyle, Director of Arts, Heritage and Wellness at Your Trust/Touchstones Rochdale, says: ‘We’re delighted to be working with the National Gallery on its Artist in Residence programme. Katrina’s approach to sculpture challenges accepted norms, and her interest in memory and absence complements Touchstones’ work to uncover the stories that aren’t currently being told by Rochdale’s collections. We’re looking forward to seeing how our collections and archives will help to inspire a new piece of work by an internationally acclaimed artist.’

Publicity images can be obtained from 

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Notes to editors

Image credit:
Katrina Palmer © The National Gallery, London

About Katrina Palmer

Born 1967 in London where she also now lives and works, Katrina Palmer’s practice encompasses sculpture, writing, drawing, audio environments, performance, and video. Palmer is best known for her investigations of sculptural materiality, which often involve written compositions and site-specific recordings to explore histories of absence within landscapes or institutional spaces. Her commission End Matter for Artangel in 2015 saw her situated on the Isle of Portland where Portland stone is quarried. She produced an audio tour based on her writing during her residency on the isle which was turned into a play for Radio 4 and a publication.

Palmer has exhibited widely, including at Tate Britain, the Hayward Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and the Henry Moore Institute. In 2014, she was awarded the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists, and was shortlisted for the Contemporary Art Society Annual Award in 2015. She completed her PhD at the Royal College of Art in 2012 and this year received an honorary doctorate from the University of Sussex. A third edition of her book The Dark Object (Book Works, London, 2010) was published this year. Palmer is an Associate Professor of Sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art.

About the Contemporary Art Society

The Contemporary Art Society champions the collecting of outstanding contemporary art and craft in the UK. Since 1910 the charity has donated thousands of works by living artists to museums, from Picasso, Bacon, Hepworth and Moore in their day, through to the influential artists of our times. Sitting at the heart of cultural life in the UK, the Contemporary Art Society brokers philanthropic support for the benefit of museums and their audiences across the entire country. Their work ensures that the story of art continues to be told now and for future generations.

About Touchstones

Touchstones is Rochdale’s main arts and& heritage venue, a Grade II2 listed building in central Rochdale housing a museum, galleries, local studies centre, café and education space.

The venue has a longstanding reputation for its approach to contemporary art in a social and political context: from its focus on feminism in the 1980s to programmes that develop a model for co-creation and collaboration (echoing Rochdale’s history with the Co-operative movement). It seeks to redress the gender imbalance in the art world by championing women artists and through collaboration with prestigious collectors, galleries and institutions, resulting in landmark projects such as Herstory (2018) with collector Patricia Sandretto, featuring major female artists of the last 50 years; and Rachel Kneebone: The Dance Project (2019), a collaboration with the artist, acclaimed choreographer TC Howard and women from Rochdale.

Recent community projects include co-commissions with Turner Prize-winner Helen Cammock (with Film and Video Umbrella, Contemporary Art Society and The Photographers’ Gallery) and Jasleen Kaur (with UP Projects) around community cohesion and race; and projects addressing the climate emergency, including Dippy-on-Tour (2019) and the Natural History Museum’s Explore: Urban Nature project.
In 2022 Touchstones became one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations for the first time in its history. The art gallery and museum is currently undergoing a major capital redevelopment project which will transform the historic building for a sustainable future. For the duration of the building closure, Touchstones is continuing arts and heritage events in local community settings as well as developing future exhibitions and projects with a focus on co-creation and co-collection.

Touchstones is part of Your Trust, a charity that works in the heart of the Rochdale Borough community, inspiring people to live more active, creative and healthy lifestyles. The charity connects people with their cultural heritage, encourages creativity and fosters wellbeing for every member of its diverse community.

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