Working predominantly in high-definition video, drawing, and writing to explore notions of materiality and corporeality Atkins often combines film, text, sound and paintings to create dream-like environments and existential experiences.
Language and the impact of words are central to each of the facets of Ed Atkins' practice, which encompasses writing, video performance and sound work. His videos often feature an idiosyncratic use of subtitle boxes, sometimes left blank, sometimes strikingly coloured, punctuating the action and producing a visual interruption of more figurative scenes. The usual function of subtitles, which is to translate or clarify dialogue and action on screen, is sidetracked in Atkins' work. His subtitles appear to take on a determining role in the films, rather than an interpretative one; the action on screen appears, in some inexplicable and supernatural way, to be guided by the cryptic statements in his subtitles.
In recent video works Atkins has used a hedonistic and heavily tattooed computer generated avatar named Dave in installations that continue to probe the artist's concerns with bodily uncanny, the physicality of language, and slippery nature of meaning and existence.