Ross Sinclair is an artist, writer and musician who is Professor of Contemporary Art Practice within the School of Fine Art at The Glasgow School of Art. He is best known for his ‘Real Life’ research project initiated when he had the words REAL LIFE tattooed in black ink across his back, at Terry’s Tattoo parlour in Glasgow, 1994.
Sinclair completed a PhD by Published Work in 2016 where he interrogated and articulated the innovative nature of the Real Life project, unusual in its scale and duration, defining the contribution to contemporary art practice across the fields of sculpture, painting, performance, installation, critical writing and music. Drawing on these multi-disciplinary methodologies Sinclair maps out the forms, materials and processes activated over almost 25 Years of Real Life Projects, that often combine unusual and unorthodox approaches challenging conventional modes of exhibition practice, enabling new means of engagement with the viewer. The multi part thesis submitted claims these routes as an autonomous, artist initiated project, connecting with the public at a dynamic intersection of ideas, context, performance and art-practice.
Sinclair’s Real Life Project is set in a critical framework of contested paradigms of Everyday Life and The Real and acknowledges the influence of key critical thinkers over the quarter century of its development from Barthes, Baudrillard and De Certeau, through Bourriaud, Bishop and Kester and more recently in Harman, Mark Fisher and Paul O’Neill amongst many others. The project has been punctuated by the exploration of individual and collective relationships with Real Life particularly viewed through contemporary paradigms constructing society such as: Democracy, Utopia, Justice, Capitalism, Geography and History, the Church, the Bank, the State, while in parallel addressing the role of the tattooed artist himself.