A gallery space with large pink circle painted on the wall. On this wall and plinths below are lots of brightly coloured and irregularly shaped ceramic sculptures.
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Untitled sculpture by Keith Clapson Photo credit: Ben McDade

Keith Clapson: Touching the Surface

Bethlem Gallery
20 September – 18 November 2023
Open 9.30am – 5pm, Wednesday-Saturday

Bethlem Gallery presents ‘Touching the Surface’, a solo show of over a hundred ceramic sculptures by artist Keith Clapson.  

Clapson describes his approach as Maximalisation: ‘more is never enough’. His works are formed by hand, often using objects found in markets or charity shops, to create pieces that are experimental, folded and voluminous. Glazes glow with intense colour and lustre, and the sculptures are highly tactile and playful.  

Clapson says: “From the broken remain of the past I want to make new; bright, beautiful, colourful, bold, funny, sarcastic, crude, drips, blobs, gloop and glaze!  I have realised that my main research has really been myself, discovering life again, being able to go out alone, live like a human.” 

Curated by Rina Sagoo and Amanda Glynn at Bethlem Gallery, ‘Touching the Surface’ brings together work Clapson has made since 2017. Sagoo says: “The full archive of Keith Clapson’s ceramics, the range of colours, glazes, processes, scale and textures have been a joy to select from, together with this rare opportunity to curate from an artist’s entire oeuvre.” Visitors will be invited to touch selected pieces as part of the exhibition.  

A programme of events including workshops and a symposium accompany this exhibition.

Slider image: works by Keith Clapson

Touching the Surface Press Release, Bethlem Gallery 2023.

We aim to make the gallery accessible to all. If you have suggestions, questions or need assistance during your visit, please contact us at or call us on 020 3228 4101. Find out more here.


Keith Clapson – Artist

Keith Clapson is an artist living and working in London. He began his art practice in 2017 as part of his recovery from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) at Bethlem Royal Hospital. He started making ceramics while on the City Lit Foundation in Art and Design 2018/9 and the City Lit Ceramics Diploma. He now makes hand-built and glazed sculptural forms in clay inspired by his obsession with Madonna and the idea of Maximalism.

Previous exhibitions featured Clapson’s work include Bethlem Gallery, The Menier Gallery, City Lit Gallery, Downstairs at The Department store in Brixton and The Ortus Centre at the Maudsley Hospital.

Clapson is currently a facilitator and curator for Bethlem Gallery with the Adamson Collection, and volunteers as a mentor to patients at The Bethlem Royal Hospital, Anxiety Disorders Residential Unit (ADRU), where he was an inpatient for four months in 2017. Touching the Surface at The Bethlem Gallery is his first solo show.


Photo credit: Ben McDade

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