Private view is on 18 January 2018.
For over a decade, Simon Roberts has photographed events and places across Britain that have drawn people together in public, reflecting on the nature of our shared histories and communal experiences.
Merrie Albion – Landscape Studies of a Small Island brings together iconic images and many previously unpublished photographs, recording social practices and customs linked to the British landscape, as well as some of the economic and political theatre that has helped define recent history.
The work in the exhibition ranges across various projects, both commissioned and independently produced over the last ten years, from single photographs made around the time of Roberts’s major photographic project We English, to his subsequent work as the official artist of the General Election of 2010, and his series National Property: The Picturesque Imperfect.
While Roberts’s interests have often gravitated towards evolving patterns of leisure, and the complex relationship between history, place and culture, he has also photographed events that have a more immediate, topical significance in Britain’s recent past, and which collectively form a detached visual chronicle of the times in which we live.
In works such as Broadstairs Dickens Festival, Isle of Thanet, the landscape resembles a stage set for the costumed characters performing on the beach. Other examples of collective gatherings range from religious festivals, such as Eid al-Fitr Celebrations, Jamia Mosque, Bristol; or social and political events represented in After the Riots, London Road, Croydon, and the recent photograph Grenfell Tower, North Kensington, London.
Creating a view of contemporary society that is far from straightforward, Roberts critically conflates the traditional genre of landscape with social documentary, layering ideas of national character through relationships to both place and particular moments in time.
Of his work David Chandler, Professor of Photography at University of Plymouth, has said: “Roberts’s work presents the viewer with complex relationships between people and places and incongruous juxtapositions of history and contemporary culture that create gentle ironies and underlying tensions across the images. Played out through particular local and regional contexts, it is these tensions that ultimately deny any consistency of mood and resist the coherent, and possibly seductive sense of binding national characteristics.”
You can download the press release here.
Flowers Gallery is pleased to present the 35th edition of the annual Small is Beautiful exhibition, which will take place at the Cork Street gallery. Small is Beautiful was first established at Flowers Gallery in 1974, inviting selected contemporary artists working in any media to present works with a fixed economy of scale, each piece measuring no more than 7 x 9 inches.
On display and Available Online will be works by more than 100 artists, offering a rare opportunity to purchase smaller pieces by internationally recognised names and discover new talents working across a range of media.
The works from Small is Beautiful are now available to purchase from Flowers Gallery’s online store: www.flowersgallery.com/shop.
The Coliseum is the most visited monument in the world but also a place that has undergone many transformations until getting to be almost a pop icon. Starting from March 8, 2017 a major exhibition will reveal its hidden history after the fall of Rome, from medieval fortresses to slaughterhouses. Enriched by the unpublished results of recent excavations and restoration works, the “Coliseum. An icon” exhibition goes beyond the narrative of the Caesars to retrace the site’s long life over the centuries, from its little-known commercial, residential and religious purposes in the Middle Ages to the present day. More than one hundred works will be on display, including ancient artifacts, drawings, paintings, scale models, photographs and a rich anthology of films.
Six chronologically arranged sections will explain the monument’s historical and cultural impact on different fields: from painting to restoration projects, from architecture to urban planning, from entertainment to literature, sociology and politics. In the course of its history, the Coliseum has been the protagonist of many pepla movies and Italian neorealist films; even contemporary art depicts the Flavian Amphitheatre as the emblem of the Eternal City through an endless number of paintings, installations, performances, videos and photographs while Roman Pop Art elevated it to an iconic role.
My new monograph, Merrie Albion, will be officially unveiled at this year’s Paris Photo Fair.
Flowers Gallery will be displaying a special edition portfolio of the work on their booth, Stand A2 and I will be doing a book signing with Dewi Lewis Publishing on Friday 10 November at 4pm on Stand H5.
Paris Photo takes place from November 9th to November 12th, 2017.
The touring exhibition ‘Unfamiliar Familiarities’ moves to the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne this month. It includes photographs from my series, Sight Sacralization: (Re)framing Switzerland.
Switzerland’s image has been significantly shaped by photographs dedicated to tourism. With spectacular mountain panoramas, rural idylls or portraits of local people the country could be successfully marketed, and these photographs also made an important contribution towards national identity. Another consequence, however, was that the respective pictorial repertoire became inflated and stereotyped.
Switzerland Tourism has chosen an unusual project to mark its 100th anniversary in 2017 with the aim of exploring the potential of photography anew. The Swiss Foundation for Photography (Winterthur) and the Musée de l’Elysée (Lausanne) invited five internationally renowned photographers to scrutinise Switzerland in their capacity as independent, subjective and sensitive observers – unrestricted by any advertising commission.
What Alinka Echeverría (Mexico/UK), Shane Lavalette (USA), Eva Leitolf (Germany), Simon Roberts (UK) and Zhang Xiao (China) discovered on their travels around the country or along its borders is both inspiring and revealing. Their exciting, poetic or mysterious-enigmatic images invite viewers to see the familiar with the eyes of an outsider.
An initiative of the Swiss Foundation for Photography, co-produced by the Musée de l’Elysée and with the support of Switzerland Tourism.
A boxed set of books co-published by the Swiss Foundation for Photography, the Musée de l’Elysée and Lars Müller Publishers will accompany the exhibition.
Preview: Tuesday, October 24 at 6pm
Tatyana Franck, director of the Musée de l’Elysée
Peter Pfrunder, director of the Swiss Foundation for Photography
Lars Willumeit, independent curator
Press Release available HERE.
An exhibition of work by Fiona Struengmann, Giacomo Bonfante, Mirko Aretini and Simon Roberts.
Galleria Ramo is pleased to participate as a commercial ‘project space’ in Lugano during this year’s Bi Biennale dell’immagine with a collective of local and international artists spanning from photography to video art.
In conjunction to the theme of the biennale, Città Divise / Città Plurali, Galleria Ramo presents a subplot, il nostalgico e il nuovo, exploring the nostalgia of the old cities and the continual development of new urban environment. Acting as storytellers like the ‘new topographic’ photographers of the 70’s, the emerging artists exhibited capture a nostalgic moment from a recent or further-a-foot past and contextualise it with an intervention from the present day. Creating works of art that generate a new form of visual vocabulary and grammar that differentiates itself from Susan Sontag’s or Erroll Morris’ feteshistic understanding of images as objects or things-in-themselves. Therefore creating a contemporary lexicon all for themselves.
Special thanks to MC2 Gallery, Biennale dell’Immagine di Chiasso and Artelier.
Rome Commission – “Gradually fading away” Piazza di S. Pietro, 1954 (2016)
A walk and talk with artist Simon Roberts whose Thames Tideway Tunnel hoarding commission The Thames Wunderkammer: Tales from Victoria Embankment in Two Parts is currently on show at Victoria Embankment.
Participants are invited to gather outside Embankment Underground Station (River Thames exit) where the artist will meet you and take you on a short walk to the site of the hoarding. There, he will discuss his 25-metre ‘cabinet of curiosities’ that presents a fascinating and diverse collection of objects from the past and present. Ancient swords, photographs from the women’s pro-suffrage march and comical engarvings of the dirty water of the Thames contribute to an artwork that reflects the area’s complex history, geology and devleopment.
Simon Roberts’ commission draws on exciting research with the Museum of London, British Museum, Houses of Parliament, Parliamentary Archives, Parliamentary Art Collection, Wellcome Trust, and Thames 21; and Flowers Gallery London.
The event is free and can be booked here: TICKETS
This event is part of Totally Thames, which takes place over the month of September and brings the river to life via an exciting season of arts, cultural and river events throughout the 42-mile stretch of the Thames in London.
More information about Tideway’s arts programme is available here: https://www.tideway.london/news/media-centre/tideway-launches-vision-for-public-art-to-celebrate-history-and-culture-of-the-river-thames/
Image: Detail of ‘South Downs Way, East Sussex, 2007’ from the series, We English
British Landscape and the Imagination: 1970s to Now
I have several pieces included in this group show, an Arts Council Collection National Partner Exhibition running from 30 SEP – 21 JAN 2018.
This major survey exhibition focuses on artists who have shaped our understanding of the British landscape and its relationship to identity, place and time. Exploring how artists interpret urban and rural landscape through the lens of their own cultural, political or spiritual ideologies, the exhibition reveals the inherent tensions between landscape represented as a transcendental or spiritual place, and one rooted in social and political histories.
Though primarily photography, A Green and Pleasant Land includes film, painting and sculpture by over 50 artists, illustrating the various concerns and approaches to landscape pursued by artists from the 1970s to now.
Artists included in the exhibition: Keith Arnatt, Gerry Badger, Craig Barker, John Blakemore, Henry Bond and Liam Gillick, Paul Caponigro, Thomas Joshua Cooper, John Davies, Susan Derges, Mark Edwards, Anna Fox, Melanie Friend, Hamish Fulton, Fay Godwin, Andy Goldsworthy, Paul Graham, Mishka Henner, Paul Hill, Robert Judges, Angela Kelly, Chris Killip, John Kippin, Karen Knorr, Ian Macdonald, Ron McCormick, Mary McIntyre, Peter Mitchell, Raymond Moore, John Myers, Martin Parr, Mike Perry, Ingrid Pollard, Mark Power, Paul Reas, Emily Richardson, Ben Rivers, Simon Roberts, Paul Seawright, Andy Sewell, Theo Simpson, Graham Smith, Jem Southam, Jo Spence, John Stezaker, Paddy Summerfield, The Caravan Gallery, Chris Wainwright, Patrick Ward, Clare Woods and Donovan Wylie.
An exhibition of my new series, Normandy, produced during a residency with the Centre photographique in Rouen will be touring to Abbaye aux Dames in Caen and then Le Musée d’Art-Histoire-Archéologie in Evreux, France.
ABOUT: “So here is Normandy, her holidays and festivals, as seen by an Englishman. This particular cross-Channel cousin, Simon Roberts, is a young star of English photography. Born in 1974, he belongs to a typically British tradition that consists of trying to illustrate the link between landscape and people. In 2009 he finishes a landmark series of images, gathered in a book titled We English: it’s a narrative of the English countryside as it is lived and hiked through—a space where life happens in daily routines, in holidays, in rituals even.” Raphaëlle Stopin, Curator.
The Centre Photographique in Rouen has asked Roberts to look at the region of greater Normandy as part of an ongoing project initiated several years ago, involving a selection of photographers, to focus on landscapes such as the ocean cliffs, the Seine valley, and renovated urban areas. This time, Roberts’ residency has revealed a territory conceived of as a vast human landscape.
Simon working, Le Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy © Alex Valin, 2016