Helen Birnbaum is an artist who approaches society and science in a questioning way using sculpture, photography, film and sound. The starting point of much of her work is contemporary society’s relationship with world changing events such as climate change and pandemics – through history and now. The aim has always been to communicate these ideas in the most accessible and humorous way possible. Much of her inspiration comes from the strange forms found under the gaze of the microscope, but the quirkiness and energy of 1960’s design also excites her and she strives to harness this dynamism whilst commenting on our own altered world.
Birnbaum uses hand building techniques to create hollow bodies, spikes and decorations to add to these dynamic pieces. Materials such as rusty metal wires, coiled telephone wires and found objects are incorporated into her work to enhance the designs. She has recently been integrating digital devices into her sculpture; sound, touch and vision now sit together widening the viewer’s experience. This is exciting art that will make you smile and always make you think.
In 2020 she hand built 130 life size ceramic hands in a work called TERRA FIRMA Leaky Boat which explores our relationship to climate change in the most vivid way. This work can be seen on her YouTube channel @helenbirnbaum411.
Helen Birnbaum was the winner of the Victoria & Albert Museum/Morley Gallery Ceramic Prize in 2018. She has sculptures in the Victoria Gallery, Liverpool’s Permanent Collection and works on permanent display in the Liverpool University School of Engineering.
Notable exhibitions include the Gordon Pathology Museum, Guy’s Hospital London; the ARB Gallery Cambridge and the World Museum, Liverpool paving the way for exhibition at ARTBOX, Basel, Switzerland. She has also exhibited twice in Athens and once in São Paulo, Brazil. Since then she has exhibited at the Glastonbury Festival, Spitalfields, London and at the Daresbury Laboratory Public Open Day.