Frieze London 2021
Simon Lee Gallery is delighted to present new and historic works by gallery artists Sonia Boyce, Sarah Crowner, Josephine Pryde and Erin Shirreff at this year’s iteration of Frieze London. Although each artist’s practice is compellingly diverse from the next, each one dismantles formal convention in pursuit of new connections, via their distinct interpretations of collage, montage and assemblage.
Highlights include Sonia Boyce’s single-channel video, Exquisite Tension (2006). Boyce’s practice privileges collaboration and inclusivity, fostering a participatory approach that questions artistic authorship and cultural difference. Derived from an earlier performance in which the artist braided her hair into that of performance artist Richard Hancock, Boyce later re-visited the exercise in front of the camera, this time inviting curator Adelaide Bannerman to take her place. The work directly references Tehching Hsieh and Linda Montano’s seminal project, Rope Piece (1983-1984), which saw the two artists tied together in a year-long performance that echoes Boyce’s own relational and social concerns.
In new paintings, Sarah Crowner continues her fertile exploration into the intersection between painting and performance. The artist composes swatches of painted and raw canvas on the floor of her studio, before stitching them together with an industrial Juki sewing machine and stretching them onto a frame. The seams remain visible, reflecting her interest in systems and patterns, process and production. Inspired by a range of twentieth-century avant-garde movements, including Bauhaus and Constructivism, Crowner expands the definition of painting. Her vibrant canvases, sewn tightly together, reflect the unifying activities of Boyce’s performance-based video work and likewise implicate the human body in the interpretation of the artwork.
Equally, Erin Shirreff takes a novel approach to collage in her work. Using dye sublimation printing processes, a method in which the photographic image is transferred onto a thin sheet of metal, she exposes equivalences and anomalies in the viewer’s perceptual experience. Each aluminium print features a fragment of a reproduction of a sculpture magnified beyond recognition so that the resulting image is abstracted; nothing more than a collection of halftone dots. Shirreff cuts each print into shapes reminiscent of leftover scraps of paper, before assembling them as informal dioramas in deep-set frames.
Josephine Pryde is known primarily for her photography, though she often presents work with sculptural elements. In her 2019 series Time and the Tampon she combines the two, incorporating images of 3-D printed sculptures that resemble icebergs into otherworldly, celestial, photo settings. Pryde learns from different photographic conventions, for example from publicity or advertising images, where seductive and highly staged, high-resolution images evoke and respond to desire. In this way, her work probes the divide between public and private, exploring the ways in which memory is informed by technology today.