Published  18/08/2017

Simon Patterson: ‘It’s about you filling in the gaps … the viewer completes the work and keeps changing it’

Simon Patterson: ‘It’s about you filling in the gaps … the viewer completes the work and keeps changing it’

Simon Patterson talks about his show Safari: An Exhibition as Expedition, at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea, and about the concepts that inform his work

The practice of the British artist Simon Patterson (b1967, Leatherhead, Surrey), who was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1996, has woven together diverse entities. He has played with and subverted maps, systems, classification and documentation since his inclusion in Damien Hirst’s Freeze exhibition in 1988, when he displayed text works such as The Last Supper Arranged According to the Sweeper Formation (Jesus Christ in Goal). Later works include The Great Bear (1992), a reinterpretation of London’s underground map that replaces the names of stations with those of notable characters – King’s Cross becomes Piero della Francesca, Earl’s Court becomes Captain Cook. In 2002, Patterson completed his Cosmic Wallpaper at the University of Warwick, in which he renamed the constellations to reveal a history of the rock band Deep Purple. Then, in 2011, he designed his poignant commemoration to Wilfred Owen’s work, La Maison Forestière, turning the Forest House in Ors (where Owen had written his last letter to his mother just before he died in 1918), into a building “… that looks like an imaginary thing, a model of a building, a space to think in, not a space to live in.” Exhilarating, bewildering and thought-provoking, Patterson’s eclectic and energetic investigations into the various systems and conditions of our times entertain, baffle and inform in equal measure.

Safari: an Exhibition as Expedition
De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex
20 May – 3 Sept 2017

Interview by MK PALOMAR

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