The Aesthetics of Evidence Simmons & Simmons London Monday 1 October 2018

Please join us for Aesthetics of Evidence: Jason File in conversation with Jon Sharples, an event hosted by the Simmons & Simmons Art Network at the start of Frieze Week this year.

Jason File is an artist and a lawyer – specifically a war crimes prosecutor. He recently contributed a chapter titled Evidence of Aesthetics and Aesthetics of Evidence to Resolution 827, a book published by Archive Books, Berlin, that is the outcome of a collaboration between Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, its title referencing the UN Security Council Resolution that in 1993 established the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

The conversation will address File’s artistic strategies for creatively using evidence or other legal-institutional materials as an artistic medium and will explore what these strategies teach us about the testimonial properties of objects and records; the way institutional process can dictate aesthetic outcomes; and the notion of performance inside the institutional machinery of truth seeking.

The conversation is especially timely as, a few days before the event, the 2018 Turner Prize exhibition opens at Tate Britain, including the shortlisted collective Forensic Architecture, who have taken the conversation on the extent to which the gathering, editing and presenting of evidence can be an artistic act into the mainstream.

18.30 – 19.00 registration

19.00 – 20.30 talk

Please sign up via the Eventbrite link


Jason File (b.1976, Marquette, Michigan, USA) is an artist, university lecturer in fine art, and war crimes prosecutor who lives and works between London, UK and The Hague, Netherlands. He holds degrees in fine art from the Chelsea College of Arts, London, and the Royal Academy of Art, Netherlands (2013), where he currently teaches. He also holds degrees in the humanities, social sciences, and law from Yale (1998), Oxford (2000) and Yale Law School (2004). File’s work has been recognized through collections and awards, including the Zabludowicz Collection Future Map Prize (2014), the Mead Fellowship, University of the Arts London (2014), and selection as ArtPrize Juried Grand Prize Finalist (USA, 2014, selected by Hrag Vartanian) and Celeste Prize selected artist (Italy, 2014, selected by Andrew Hunt). Solo and two-person exhibitions and projects include: The Ryder Projects, London (2015); Stroom, The Hague (2015 & 2016); Ovalhouse, London (2014); and X Marks the Bökship, London (2011). Group exhibitions include: NARS Foundation, Brooklyn, NY (2018); Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2017); GEMAK, The Hague (2015); Cøpperfield, London (2015); Grand Rapids Art Museum, USA (2014); International Print Biennale, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle (2014); SPACE, London (2014); Atelierhaus der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, Vienna (2014). Artist talks include: Paul Mellon Centre for British Art, London (2016) and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2015). Art fairs include: London Art Fair (2016) and Art Rotterdam (2016). Press includes Art Monthly, Frieze (2016) and Artforum (2014). He co-curated “The Observer Effect” at GEMAK in The Hague in 2015.


Jon Sharples is Chair of the Simmons & Simmons Art Network and an Associate Solicitor in the firm’s Intellectual Property group. Alongside his legal career and his work on the Simmons & Simmons collection of contemporary art, he is a visual arts broadcaster and lecturer. Jon is a trustee of Block 336 in Brixton and was a member of the selection committee for the Art Night 2018 open call.


Image credit: ICTYTV (2018), (video still), Image courtesy of Jason File Studio

ICTYTV (2018) is an early 1990s “television channel” with programs and content sourced entirely from the institutionally-digitized VHS evidence archives of the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Much of the tribunal’s video evidence was recorded partially on top of previously-used tapes, meaning that, in addition to pertinent war crimes evidence, the archives also contain cartoons, films, advertisements, home video and other individually-generated material from around the world.


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