CAPSID, John Walter

CAP­SID is an Arts Coun­cil Col­lec­tion, large scale mul­ti media instal­la­tion, by the artist John Wal­ter, open­ing at Aspex Portsmouth from Fri­day 13 Janu

13/01/23 – 10/04/23
Opening Times
Sunday, 11:00 – 16:00
Mon–Tue, Closed
Wed–Sat, 11:00 – 16:00
CAPSID is an Arts Council Collection, large scale multi media installation, by the artist John Walter, opening at Aspex Portsmouth from Friday 13 January to Monday 10 April 2023. CAPSID is the result of a collaboration between Walter and molecular virologist Professor Greg Towers of University College London. The work brings to light the underrepresented debate around viruses such as HIV, uncovering new scientific knowledge about viral capsids and sharing it with the wider public.

Capsids are protein shells contained within viruses that help protect and deliver viruses to host cells during infection. Akin to the cell’s role, CAPSID celebrates Walter’s maximalist approach to expose ecosystems and issues that are often overlooked in society. Using its cellular structure as a point of inspiration, the exhibition features drawings, paintings, prints, sculptures, costume and film to illustrate virology’s omnipresence in human life.

Now more than ever, we can all relate to viruses and their impact. The exhibition brings vibrant colour, spatial design, maximalism and collage to catalyse discussions at the intersection of science, art and society. Visitors are encouraged to reconsider the historical representation of HIV and other viruses and to think about them as an analogy for how culture is transmitted influenced by Richard Dawkins’ definition of the meme.

Aspex Portsmouth is thrilled to have, for the very first time, borrowed work from the Arts Council Collection through the Borrow Big scheme to bring CAPSID to the consciousness of the local community in Portsmouth. In a post-pandemic world, CAPSID offers a playful and insightful investigation of the role that viruses have on our lives.

CAPSID was co-commissioned by Southwark Park Galleries and HOME Manchester in 2018, supported by a Large Arts Award from Wellcome and funding from Arts Council England, and project managed by SMART.


Opening celebration Saturday 14 January 2023, 2-4pm (GMT)

Performance of m_Doomsday{Shitney(exorcism)} by John Walter on Thursday 23 March 2023 (time tbc)

CAPSID Workshop with Jane Shepherd Wednesday 8 February 2023, 11am-3pm

To book a place please contact

Age: 18+, Free (Limited spaces)
Drawing Installation