Fish Tank (2017) is a series of videos of the fish tanks that feature on every wing in the HM Prison Grendon. These discrete glazed environments for exotic residents have a significant presence on the wings, with a representative appointed to look after the fish and the tanks on a rolling basis.
Fish Tank was produced for In Place of Hate, an exhibition of work made by Edmund Clark over three years as artist in residence in HMP Grendon, Europe’s only wholly therapeutic prison, specialising in the rehabilitation of violent and sexually violent offenders. Men apply to be sent to Grendon from within mainstream prisons to undergo an intense process of group therapy and self-revelation. Living in communities of about 35 they share and attempt to understand their criminal narratives and personal histories, often of abuse, addiction and disorder. They have roles of responsibility in the community and must hold each other’s behaviour to account every waking hour when they are out of their cells. This work has been shaped by the men, staff and the intense therapeutic processes and experiences at Grendon; and by the environment of the prison. It explores notions of visibility, transformation, trauma and self-image in the context the reductive binary of good and evil that characterises discourse about criminal justice.