“I think [the title of The Great Bear] partly comes out of an interest in astronomy and in apparently fixed structures that are in fact in a constant state of flux, like the universe which is still expanding.” —Simon Patterson
Benrimon Contemporary is pleased to announce Anthology, Simon Patterson’s first solo exhibition in New York since 1993. The exhibition will be a survey show including recent works as well as works from the classic ‘Name Paintings’ series, begun in 1987, and ‘Black-list’ series from 2006. Photographs from ‘Landskip’, a series of unique photographs begun, in 2000, will also be included, along with videos, works on paper, Cousteau in the Underworld of 2010, and The Great Bear of 1992, the artist’s signature piece, a reworking of the famous London Underground Map.
Patterson is a multi-disciplinary artist whose works incorporate his interest in history, language and words, and familiar systems of classification, which the artist challenges and subverts while allowing the viewer to make his or her own connections.
Patterson’s most well known work is The Great Bear, 1992, where he re-invents the London subway map by replacing the station stops with the names of, among others, Planets, Musicians, Explorers, Soccer Players, Saints and Philosophers (whose names are arranged along the Circle Line). Here Patterson combines historical figures with those of pop culture into a single work that represents a projection from the personal and idiosyncratic to, as the title implies, something shared and potentially more universal. Ultimately the map is no longer about London.
The act of naming is a key element throughout Patterson’s career. In 1987, while still a student at Goldsmiths’, Patterson began his first series of works, the ‘Name Paintings’, with Richard Burton/Elizabeth Taylor, a diptych which was included in the seminal Freeze exhibitions in 1988 curated by Damien Hirst. Here he silk-screened the names of historical figures, from actors to astronauts, on white gessoed canvas using American Typewriter font. When the viewer looks at the work the names immediately evoke in the viewers’ minds the images and events surrounding these celebrities. The ‘Black-list’ series continues Patterson’s interest in liminal spaces ¬–¬ those marginal areas at the periphery of vision – in this instance the titles and credits of a movie.
‘Landskip’ is a series that Patterson worked on from 2000 to 2008. Simultaneously homage to and a critique of the great tradition of landscape painting and design, the artist set off military colored smoke grenades in different parks and landscaped gardens throughout Britain, capturing images of the billowing smoke in a series of unique photographs. The resulting photographs create mysterious images of colored smoke clouds eerily creeping over a lake or unfurling in the branches of trees and over the parapets of buildings.
Cousteau in the Underworld, 2010, is one of Patterson’s most recent works. Here he explores Greek Mythology, specifically Homer’s Odyssey, using 18th and mid-19th century Admiralty charts of the eastern Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. In each chart, Patterson has inserted facts – sometimes contradictory – about different aspects of the life of the great, but now almost forgotten French ‘oceanaut’, Jacques Cousteau. Patterson elides ancient myth with the creation of a modern myth through the slippages between fact and fantasy that occur through the retelling of stories through the worldwide web.
Simon Patterson studied at Goldsmiths’ College in London where he lives and works. Patterson was shortlisted for the Turner prize in 1996. His work is included in public collections including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Gallery, London; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Kunsthaus, Zurich, Osaka Museum of Art, Japan. Major group exhibitions include “Freeze,” London (1988); Doubletake, Hayward Gallery, London (1992) and Vienna Kunsthalle (1993); Aperto, Venice Biennale (1993); “Mapping”, Museum of Modern Art, New York (1994); “Europe: Creation and Recreation”, Muscarnok, Budapest (1995); “The Sense of Order”, Museum of Modern Art, Lujbljana (1996); “Sensation,” Royal Academy, London (1997) and The Brooklyn Museum, New York (1998); Project 70, Museum of Modern Art, New York (1999); Taipei Museum of Fine Art, Taiwan (2001); Sydney Biennale (2002); “British Art from the Tate: 1960-2003”, Sao Paulo (2003); “100 Artists See God”, ICI, Jewish Museum San Francisco (touring show) (2004); “Eye on Europe” Museum of Modern Art, New York (2006); ‘Mapping the Imagination”, V&A Museum, London (2007); “Print the Legend: The Myth of the West”, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2008). Major solo shows include: The Grey Art Gallery, New York (1993); Lisson Gallery, London (1996); Kunsthaus, Zurich (1997); Mitaka City Art Gallery, Tokyo (1998); Magazin 4, Bregenz, Austria (1999); Sies+Hoeke Gallery, Düsseldorf (2000); Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2005); Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2005); Haunch of Venison, Zurich (2006) and Haunch of Venison, London (2007); The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London (2008).