Founded in 2002, Simon Lee Gallery runs a programme of exhibitions from our spaces in London and Hong Kong, representing a generationally wide scope of artists from Europe, Asia and the USA. Their practices are diverse, ranging from sculpture and painting to video and photography; yet remain bound by a shared interest in an exploration of the conceptual. The gallery punctuates its programme with historical exhibitions and curated group shows which present shifts in contemporary art practice and thought. The selection of works to be exhibited at Art|Basel Hong Kong will represent the diversity of this programme at the same time as drawing out connections within it.
Dexter Dalwood’s (b. 1960) paintings of interior spaces and landscapes evoke meaning through ‘populated emptiness’. Constructing realms which often reference illustrious art historical quotations then seamlessly interwoven with personal histories, Dalwood examines how we interpret a past without presenting an explicit narrative. Marquee (2012) is the first work to be shown from a new series of ‘London paintings’ which will be exhibited in November at Simon Lee Gallery, London.
Matias Faldbakken’s (b. 1973) interest in abstraction is as a technique for negation as well as an aesthetic proposition. Faldbakken de-locates objects from their conventional environment through acts of cancellation, erasure, vandalism and reduction. PARTS CABINET (2013) is an object rendered physically and metaphorically obsolete, without purpose it represents an absence of meaning and depth.
Toying with the idea of a traditional aesthetic and its interpretation by the contemporary world, Hans-Peter Feldmann (b. 1941) conveys playfulness as he reconstructs the pictorial context of his work via witty and minimal forms of adaptation and appropriation. Untitled presents a blend of readymade material and minimal artistic intervention, challenging our aesthetic sensibilities whilst achieving an unexpected, humorous outcome.
Daido Moriyama (b. 1938) is recognized for his documentation of Japan’s transformation amid the upheaval of post-war regeneration, breaking through formal and ideological constraints to forge an expressionistic style wholly his own, Moriyama experiments with the fundamental language of photography in his signature black and white, grain heavy style and expresses his vision of the voyeurism that pervades modern city life. Illustrating these notions, DOCUMENTARY 93 ('86.6 Setagaya-ku, Tokyo) (1986 – 2013) appears rough, blurred and out of focus, all of which are characteristic to Moriyama’s oeuvre.
Michelangelo Pistoletto (b. 1933) is one of Arte Povera’s most significant protagonists. Lavoro-atelier (2008-2011) highlights the world of construction rather than the glossy end product. The work is from a series that addresses the procedure and mechanics of construction itself. Pistoletto shines a spotlight on the incessant process of destruction and construction that is an inevitable by-product of any period of intense economic activity.
Referencing film, architecture, and white American popular culture, Gary Simmons' (b.1964) “erasure” drawings move away from the use of paint and canvas, and back towards pastel and chalk on paper, where his practice began. Using white gloves to blur and smudge the medium, Simmons is able to create the curving swipes and fervent smudges of black pastel in Chandelier Hallway (White) (2011), the process implying the notions of memory and the way in which we attempt to reconstruct the past.
Valerie Snobeck (b. 1980) alienates materials from their conventionally designated purpose and works in processes of translation across surfaces, industries and time. This is made manifest in residual images from a plastic peel, partially erased mirrors and construction site netting, forming permeable membranes where a canvas might normally be. 1972/1857 (Biscayne Bay) (2014) presents a series of screens - the veil of the netting, the glass window of the mirror, the semi-transparent surface of the plastic - these structures function as lenses by which to apprehend the work.
Christopher Wool (b. 1955) explores the complexities of abstract painting, constantly investigating the current condition of the medium. Characterised by his use of text, the repetition of motifs and contemporary techniques including silkscreen, spraying and digital reproduction, Wool creates a world in which the material and the nonfigurative are inextricable Untitled (1989) re-contextualizes the representational plane and the text itself, a sign-like, linguistic inscription becoming an object in its own right.
Art Historical references serve as a platform upon which Toby Ziegler (b. 1972) constructs his work, the images undergoing a process of digital manipulation that results in the loss of pictorial information. River and ditch (2014) occupies the composition of a traditional Romantic landscape; without offering identifiable forms. The sanded aluminium visible beneath the oil paint lends illumination, varying angles of light constantly transforming the surface appearance.
Heimo Zobernig’s (b. 1958) practice is shaped by the re-imagining, quotation and appropriation of languages and structures drawn from the histories of modernism, emerging as a central and recurring element to his work over the past 25 years. The grid and the monochrome are present in Untitled (2012), both an examination and an expansion of these two central tropes of twentieth century painting.