Exhibitions

Past
Image: France-Lise McGurn: Percussia
London  24 January - 22 February 2020

France-Lise McGurn: Percussia

Simon Lee Gallery is proud to announce Percussia a solo exhibition of new work by Glasgow-based artist France-Lise McGurn. This is the artist’s debut exhibition with the gallery and the first in London since Sleepless, her 2019 solo exhibition at Tate Britain. The artist will present new paintings, works on paper and site-specific wall paintings across both gallery floors. The exhibition coincides with a major site-specific commission by the artist on view at Tramway in Glasgow. Subsequently, McGurn will also be participating in Glasgow International in April.  

Image: João Penalva
New York  15 January - 29 February 2020

João Penalva

Simon Lee Gallery is proud to announce a solo exhibition by the London-based Portuguese artist, João Penalva. For his first solo exhibition in New York since 2002, Penalva presents two new series of work based on photographs taken at the São Carlos National Theater, in Lisbon, Portugal, that explore the physical mechanics of theatrical fictions and illusions.

Following a career in dance, João Penalva began his second career as an artist in 1976, working initially as a painter. Today, Penalva is known for making large-scale installations in various media, as well as more intimate works that combine painting, photography, video and found objects, image, text and sound; addressing narrative modes and the relationships between each medium. His storytelling is often fractured, presenting juxtaposed narrative elements, allowing the viewer a latitude of freedom in their interpretation.

Image: Mai-Thu Perret: News from Nowhere
Hong Kong  10 January - 28 March 2020

Mai-Thu Perret: News from Nowhere

Simon Lee Gallery is pleased to present News from Nowhere, an exhibition of new works by Swiss artist Mai-Thu Perret. This will be her second solo exhibition at the Hong Kong gallery.

The exhibition’s title derives from British polymath and socialist activist, William Morris’ 1890 novel of the same name, in which he imagines a utopian future liberated from systems of capitalism. Blending utopian socialism with science fiction, the narrative follows William Guest who, after returning home from a meeting of the Socialist League, wakes the next morning to find himself catapulted into the twenty-first century and into a world beyond all recognition. Following revolutionary upheaval, England, now called ‘Nowhere’, has become a humane socialist society in which all people live in equality. Yet just as quickly as he finds himself in this paradise, Guest is transplanted back to the nineteenth century where he resolves to make his dream of the future a reality of the Victorian social order. Perret’s practice directly references Morris, whose vision of a utopian future reflects the fictionalised women-only commune that has been central to her work for the past two decades. The Crystal Frontier explores the lives of an autonomous community who have abandoned Western neoliberal society for the remote desert of South Western Mexico, envisaged by the artist as a refuge from the ills of capitalism and patriarchal convention. Like Morris’ News from Nowhere, Perret’s project engages with the promise of an ideological agenda that promotes egalitarian human relationships.

Image: Merlin Carpenter
London  22 November 2019 - 18 January 2020

Merlin Carpenter

Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of new paintings by Merlin Carpenter. The show considers the hand-painted object’s capacity to engage with and complicate the language and history of the readymade.

Merlin Carpenter’s work grapples with the potential relationship between painting and the readymade; and the possibility of collapsing the ideas that distinguish these practices. Since the 1990s the readymade object has been an integral line of inquiry in Carpenter’s work; and in more recent years he has presented a number of readymade works that hang flat on the wall like a painting. Carpenter’s new hyperrealistic paintings push the boundaries of painting into the discourse of the readymade in another way: the five works are so highly finished that they appear like a product, delivered from elsewhere. In this stark new presentation, Carpenter encourages the audience to both critique the authenticity of the paintings and simultaneously accept the role of the artist's hand.