Alice Butler writes that 'in Vanessa Mitter’s paintings, the personal is treated as a pliant material, a source of affect and investigation, but also of fiction and performance. Collage, paint and pigment find a way on to the canvas in ephemeral expressive gestures. There is an abject narrative at play – of lost childhood and drifting brides – but it is a narrative that wanders in and around the artifice of the material.'


Her paintings are both exuberantly high-octane in terms of colour, but mordant in terms of their conceptual approach. Endless layers of patterning, collage and gaudy colouring are deliberately extreme, to the point where the paintings, when viewed in the flesh, are almost too vivid, too excessive.


In her practice, Vanessa Mitter is also informed by Julia Kristeva's writing(s) concerning the abject in relation to ideas of the feminine. 'We may call it a border; abjection is above all ambiguity. Because, while releasing a hold, it does not radically cut off the subject from what threatens it - on the contrary, abjection acknowledges it to be in perpetual danger.' (Kristeva, Powers of Horror). In her paintings, there is a sense of threat; of beauty and innocence on the edge of collapse.


Vanessa Mitter makes performances which explore confrontation, antagonism and ritual. These performances also reflect on the history of action painting and performance art. They are visceral and physically challenging. In all of her practice, she is interested in the performative and the gestural and in how these elements relate to liminal space and ritual. She seeks to destabilize the audience, forcing them to question their surroundings and their accepted modes of thinking and behaving. She asks questions about gender (taking on male and ambiguous alter egos), history (the personas are sometimes from another time/era), the relationship between the viewer and the viewed or the performer and those who bear witness.



Chelsea College of Art and Design                                                                   2008-2010


Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art, 2009

MA Fine Art, 2010



Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design                                               


BA Honours Degree in Fine Art



Kingston University, Surrey                                                                               


Btec Foundation in Art and Design

Selected Exhibitions




Rules of Freedom                                                                                               

Athina Art Fair, Athens

Ornamental Neon

Velvet Ropes

Lore of the Land

You Are Here

Frivolous Convulsions 



I Am A Beautiful Monster (two person show)                                                          The Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prize


Unquiet Brides (solo exhibition)  

What You See




And The Dark And The Dark

Strange Attraction




Hackney Wicked Art Festival (Arts Council funded) 

Beuys Keep Swinging                                              

The Painting Game                                                  




The True, The Beautiful, The Good                         





Collective (Frieze Week Exhibition)                         

FAD Office                                                               

FAD, If Only You Could See What

I've Seen with Your Eyes                                       




Forza Nuova                                                                                                                                                                 

Trajector Art Fair                                  

de Kooning, de Kooning, de Kooning                     


I Am Not Here To Entertain You                                                                         




Then I Remembered                                              


Enjoy Democracy Responsibly                             

Dillmann Kunstmarkt                                              




Und wieder lockt das Weib                                                                                       

Scapegoat Society                                                 

Your Higher Plane Awaits                                      

Going Postal                                                         




Police and Violence                                                

Invisible Means of Support                                     

Salon Series                                                           

One Night Stand                                                    





Goon Island                                                           




Life Was Never Meant To Be This Way                  

(solo exhibition)                                                                                






Frivolous Convulsions



The Dandyism of Contempt                                

I Am Not Here To Entertain You                                     



Prizes and Awards

Shortlisted - The Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prize 2017

Joint winner - Hackney Wicked Art Prize, 2015

Longtlisted for 100 Painters of Tomorrow, Beers Lambert Gallery, 2013

Shortlisted for The Red Mansion Foundation Art Prize, 2011

Shortlisted for the GAM Gilbert de Botton Art Prize, 2010




Vanessa Mitter's work is held in private collections in Europe and America.




Selected Publications


Ornamental Neon at ASC Gallery

Frivolous Convulsions


Cadaverous in Croydon (review of Friviolous Convulsions)

Death Animated: Frivolous Convulsions

Lore of the Land

You Are Here


I Am A Beautiful Monster


Unquiet Brides


Strange Attraction




Posi+tive Magazine                                                 


FAD Art                                                                      




Frieze Magazine                                                       



Politiken, Denmark                                                   


Kunste.NU, Denmark                                               


Kunstkrittik, Denmark                                               


Kunst & Kultur, Denmark                                          




Deck, Kunstmarkt issue

Sonnendeck art magazine                                        



Sonnendeck art magazine                                        



Life Was Never Meant To Be This Way      






Bridget Riley House, Space, London

Landing Space, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London

K Projects, Berlin




Symposium, The Museum of Ethnography, Belgrade, Serbia

Schwartz Gallery, London




The Bear Pit, London (through Carter Presents)

Performance, The Other Art Fair, Ambika P3, London


Performance, The Other Art Fair, Ambika P3, London




Space 4828, Venice curated by Nicola Ruben  


Brussels, through Carter Presents Gallery, London

David Risley Gallery, Copenhagen, curated by

Dexter Dalwood

Field Project Space, London  








Carter Presents Gallery, London

Man Can Not Live by Bread Alone, London

Forman's Smokehouse Gallery, London

Art Fair, Stuttgart, Germany

The Surreal House, Barbican Art Gallery, London

Flat-Time House, London

Hanbury Hall, Spitalfields, London

Galerie Deck, Stuttgart, Germany




Performance, Guest Projects, London

Chelsea College of Art and Design, London

Institute of Contemporary Art, London



Alex Michon reviews 'a performance of the feminine' painting show by imagining that the artists are all members of a girl band, Garageland blog/magazine, Transition Gallery, London

Catalogue, Arts Council funded in the British Library Collection

Paul Carey-Kent, FAD magazine

Tom Carrao





Review by Tom Carrao

Catalogue essay by Alice Butler (Frieze Writer's Prize Winner, 2012)

Catalogue essay by Alice Butler

Interview and feature by Nicola Ruben


Review of performance


April edition, review of de Kooning……

Curated by Dexter Dalwood, David

Risley Gallery, Copenhagen

Review of de Kooning, de Kooning, de

Kooning by Trine Ross, 6th February 2011

Review of de Kooning, de Kooning, de


Expressionismen i dag by Av Maria Kjaer


Her er Universet by Michael Jeppesen




Feature under Watchlist, pgs 30/31





Catalogue for solo exhibition, Mallorca

Performance, The Sassoon Gallery, London

Rochelle School, Arnold Circus, London

Auto-Italia Project Space, London

The Gallery, Wimbledon College of Art, London





Take Courage Gallery, New Cross, London




Casal de Cultura Museum,

Mallorca, Spain





Arts Council funded, Turf Projects, London

Camden Space Unlimited, London, NW1

Field Project Space, London

Collyer Bristow Gallery, London

through Zero Zero Gallery, Los Angeles

ASC Gallery, London

Furniture by Artists, David Risley Gallery, Copenhagen

Churchgate Gallery, Somerset. Curator: David Harrison

Stockport War Memorial Museum

Turf Projects, London. Arts Council funded. Curators: Vanessa Mitter and Ben Westley Clarke

Arthouse1 Gallery, London

Piano Nobile Gallery, London

Unit G Gallery, London

K Projects, Berlin


A-Side B-Side Gallery, London

A.P.T Gallery, London



The Smoke                                                                 

More Heed          

This Year's Model Part 1

Art on a Postcard - International Women's Day



This Year's Model Part II

Art on a Postcard Auction for International Women's Day


Art on a Postcard Charity Auction + Exhibition

Objects of Desire

GIFC and Velvet Ropes

Creekside Open

Mother Art Prize

Terrace Gallery, London 

The Magic Garden, London

Studio 1.1, London

Art on a Postcard, London

Studio 1.1, London

Art on a Postcard, London

Art on a Postcard, London

ASC Gallery, London

House of Vans, London

APT Gallery and Studios, London

Mimosa House, London