Victoria J. Dean

Victoria J. Dean

The Illusion of Purpose

Technology is restructuring our communication methods, transforming our perceptions and interactions with our environment, and rendering the physical realm comparatively cumbersome and slow. Disconnected from the modern digital world, these material structures and the systems in which they once functioned are obsolete. With the simplicity and directness of a symbolic form, each structure withholds its message, alluding to a relic from a forgotten language.The Illusion of Purpose explores ideas of materiality, monumentality and the sculptural, questioning the relevance of the physical in our increasingly virtual age, and in a world of communication hijacked by technology.


Victoria J. Dean is a photographic artist based near Belfast. Her practice explores the human propensity to rationalise space, in the context of place and landscape.

Dean graduated with an MFA Photography with distinction from Ulster University in 2017, receiving the Royal Ulster Academy Award for Outstanding Students. She has exhibited and been published internationally, with her most recent series, The Illusion of Purpose, winning her a place in the LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards 2017 and as a finalist in the Klompching Gallery’s FRESH 2017. The series featured in Source Issue 95 in 2018 and was selected by Olivia Arthur (Magnum) and Anna Sparham (Curator, Museum of London) in Source Magazine’s Graduate Photography Online 2017 Selections. Her work featured in Circulation(s): Festival de la Jeune Photographie Européenne, 2014 in Paris, Northern Ireland: 30 Years of Photography at Belfast Exposed & The Mac in 2013, and The Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward 2013 touring exhibition.

Dean is represented by the Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast. Her work is part of a number of collections including the David Kronn Collection, the Office of Public Works State Art Collection, and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Collection. Her book, The Illusion of Purpose, published by Another Place Press in 2018, is held in the Martin Parr Foundation Archive.