Steve Messam


Steve Messam is an environmental artist based in County Durham, UK and working internationally. His ephemeral site-specific installations re-imagine the everyday, interrupting historical landscapes and vacant architecture to help us perceive the familiar environment in a new way.

Messam’s works seek to explore and uncover the layers of narrative within the rural environment, frequently drawing on existing uses of the land and reflecting an understanding of the geological, cultural and agricultural practices already being used to shape the landscape. From working with farmers to re-imagining vernacular architecture, his ephemeral, site-specific art installations uncover hidden stories and help a deeper understanding of place.

Working on a scale that is typically ‘bigger than a house’, his works explore the colour and scale of place. His inflatable textile works include a suite of pieces that filled historic ruins in a Scottish castle gardens and wrapped a seating shelter in Blackpool.

Other works include ‘PaperBridge’ (2015) –  a functioning packhorse bridge made from 22,000 sheets of paper in the Lake District; and ‘Hush’ (2019) – a lead-mining scar in the North Pennines landscape filled with over five kilometres of saffron-yellow fabric.  He created the first off-site installation at the 2006 Shanghai Biennial and created a number of site specific installations across the Venetian Lagoon during the 2009 Venice Biennale. In 2021 he was awarded ‘Visual Artist of the Year’ at the Newcastle Journal Culture Awards.