Tate acquires the entire Space Mission by Peter Mitchell

Mrs McArthy & her daughter, London, 1975 - Peter Mitchell (detail)


We are pleased  to announce that Tate Modern recently acquired the complete set of 65 images which make-up Peter Mitchell’s A New Refutation of the Viking 4 Space Mission first shown at the Impressions Gallery at York in 1979 and more recently in 2016 at Arles.

Mr & Mrs Hudson, Leeds, 1974 - Peter Mitchell

Peter Mitchell - Mr & Mrs Hudson, Leeds, 1974


For the full story of this seminal work see Val Williams brilliant essay to the edition which we published in 2017: Peter Mitchell Performs Photography - Life Aboard the Unda Wunda

Frances Morris, Director of Tate Modern, speaking at a Seminar last year in Bristol, mentioned that the policy of the Tate with regards to acquisitions is very much to show the work and not to act as an archive or depository. So hopefully this will lead to a much deserved exhibition for Peter at some stage in the future. It is also good news for British Photography generally that after decades of relative neglect there is a reassessment taking place within some of our public Galleries which has been long overdue.

Peter is pleased that the Space Mission has finally landed and is enjoying his new Tate pass and access to all Tate Parties very much. His well-deserved gap year after all the excitement in 2016 and 2017 has now come to an end and we started to work on some of his archive which is actually really exciting and will lead to quite a few more projects, we hope, over the next few years.

Peter Mitchell attends a Tate party, 2018 - Photo courtesy of Jane Slaughter

Peter Mitchell attends a Tate party, 2018 - Photo courtesy of Jane Slaughter

It is generally known that Peter’s output over 50 years was very modest, about a picture a week or thereabouts. What is not known is that he only actually developed about 500-600 of his photographs. The majority has never been printed in colour. We started the process to do this and also to clean-up the negatives with the help of Tom Groves and are startled see quite different aspects of Peter’s work to emerge as in slightly less quaint or “charming”. The first book project based on these new discoveries will be a Leeds book, provisionally titled “Lost Leeds” and scheduled for publication in 2020.


Untitled, From Peter Mitchell's 'Lost Leeds' pictures

Until then there are always his previous publications.  We even have some signed facsimile Posters which Peter designed in the 1970s and 1980s.

There is also his website and even his instagram though of course he remains resolutely non-digital, preferring his trusty typewriter


Peter Mitchell's Typewriter, as seen in Some Thing Means Everything to Somebody


Later this year Peter will also do his first workshops at the Martin Parr Foundation, for their full program and future events we recommend joining their mailing list.

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