Something for the Eye’: an intervention by John Murphy (the Regency Town House restoration project)

Jill Seddon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


This chapter reflects upon, and analyses, a temporary intervention by artist John Murphy at the Regency Town House, Hove as part of the Brighton Festival fringe, in May-June 2004. It represented a unique collaboration between an important local restoration project and a contemporary artist and was the first of a series of cultural interventions within the house’s historic interiors. Research developed, and published, over several years was drawn upon in the planning stages of Murphy’s piece. Although the work no longer has a physical presence in the house, his installation raised questions that remain valid, concerning site specificity, history, public and private spaces and the role of vision in the creation and consumption of pleasure. The house itself performed a role that went far beyond just providing a venue, forming a symbiotic relationship with the objects placed by Murphy within its interiors and offering up multiple readings of the event. Powerful themes of desire, sexual appetite and the commoditisation of the body were quietly insinuated into these domestic spaces, engaging their audience in a visual and verbal dialogue. Murphy’s exploration of the interaction of sight and language through the juxtaposition of text, object and image resonated with the physical traces of original functions of the house and its present restoration. The article examines the ways in which a specific historic site added new layers of meaning to Murphy’s work within the context of the history of site-specific art.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationImage, Power and Space: Studies in Consumption and Identity
EditorsJonathan Woodham, Alan Tomlinson
Place of PublicationMaidenhead, UK
PublisherMeyer and Meyer Sport
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9781841262444
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Publication series

NameChelsea School Research Centre Edition


  • Regency Brighton
  • restoration
  • domestic spaces


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