Tom Dale

Tom Dale The Mars Society photo: Thierry Bal


Dale's work takes as its starting point the unexploded bomb that landed at Tatton during World War II. The Ministry of Defence, at the request of Lord Egerton, returned the bomb as a ‘souvenir’ to add to his collection.

Dale’s work is a re-conditioned vessel of intention: a 1950s Thunderbird rocket carrying a cultural payload, its flags suggesting an ambiguous ideology, as CYMK colours and the inherent references to screen culture they suggest.

For Dale, the rocket is more about the projection of aspirations from one place onto another than the physical impact a bomb might have. From the efforts of the Cold War ‘rocket mail’ programme, which promised (but spectacularly failed) to deliver post at supersonic speeds to the first free webmail services (RocketMail, now subsumed by Yahoo) and on to The Mars Society itself, an international organisation intent on colonising Mars, the work suggests idealism amidst historical failures to launch.


Tom Dale takes the familiar and makes it strange. The work for him is the consequence of these actions. Making work that forces an interpretation as well as a consciousness of that process is one of the principal motivations of his practice. His is an art of excess carried out with formal restrain. Writing about his work has appeared in The Guardian, Flash Art, Art Review, Time Out and Dazed & Confused. He has shown at ITC, New York, 2009; had his first international solo exhibition in 2008 at the CCA Warsaw and had solo shows at Plymouth Art Centre and City Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand (both 2008). His work has been shown at John Hansard Gallery, Southampton; Whitstable Biennial and Nuit Blanche, Quimper, France. He is working on commissions for the Latitude festival in July 2012 and the Cultural Olympiad with composer Joe Cutler, the Coull Quartet and the Fusion Table Tennis team. A Graduate of the Goldsmiths Fine Art MA course in 2006, he currently holds a doctoral research position at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge and recently organised the symposium Marginalia: Towards an Indivisible College, at the Whitechapel Gallery, London.