A book to accompany the Civilization: The Way We Live Now touring exhibition is published by Thames & Hudson. and will be launched in London at Flowers Gallery on November 5th. A series of photographs from the book, including some works from my Merrie Albion series, will be on show at Flowers from 7 November – 22 December 2018.
The book is curated by William Ewing.
Details of the exhibition can be found here: https://www.flowersgallery.com/exhibitions/view/civilization
And you can download a press release here.
Photographs in the book and exhibition include:
National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, Parliament Square, London, 9 December 2010
Annual Eton College Procession of Boats, River Thames, Windsor, Berkshire, 17 June 2016
Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Shoreham Air Show, West Sussex, 15 September 2007
Mt Pilatus, Luzern, March 2016
Civilization: The Way We Live Now is a major exhibition opening at Seoul’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art this October. It features the work of 100 of the world’s finest photographers. It addresses and illuminates major aspects of our increasingly global 21st century civilization. It stresses the fact that contemporary civilization is an extremely complex collective enterprise. Never before in human history have so many people been so interconnected, and so dependent on one another. In science and art, at work and play, we increasingly live the collective life. The Olympic Games, the giant Airbus, CERN, MRI, the Trident Submarine, Wikipedia, the Academy Awards, the International Space Station, Viagra, the laptop computer and the smartphone… However we feel about any of them, none of these complex phenomena would have been possible without superlatively coordinated efforts involving highly educated, highly trained, highly motivated, highly connected people.
Taken as a whole, this exhibition takes stock of our civilization’s material and spiritual culture, ranging from the ordinary to the extraordinary, and from civilization’s great collective achievements and its ruinous collective failings, expressing thoughts and feelings in the richly nuanced language of photography. And though it features photography of the real world, it embraces different ways of dealing with it, from the ‘straight’ document to the mise en scene.
Several works from my Merrie Albion series are included in the exhibition and book.
Published by Thames & Hudson.
Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing: March 2019 – May 2019
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia: September 2019 – February 2020
The Brexit Lexicon is a newly produced video- installation work that explores the store of metaphors and verbiage that have become the stock in trade of politicians and journalists during the Brexit negotiations. Creating a compendium of the most common terms that have coloured the way Britain / EU have described current political discussions, the lexicon is read out by an anonymous news presenter sat in front of a green-screen and viewed on a television screen.
Alongside the Lexicon, Roberts is displaying a photographic work on street poster sites across the city. Between the Acts, 2018 is an artist poster featuring a photograph of the iconic white cliffs at Seven Sisters in Sussex coupled with a haunting quotation from Virginia Woolf.
The exhibition has been made possible with support from Arts Council England.
Image: Screengrab from The Brexit Lexicon by Simon Roberts, 2018
‘Brexit will spell the end of British art as we know it. Discuss. – A Panel Discussion
According to the artist Bob and Roberta Smith leaving the EU will have a devastating impact on our artists, museums and galleries, with Brexit meaning the end of a period of British culture born out of the ashes of the Second World War that was open, intellectually curious and essentially generous. As the UK Government releases Technical Notices on a ‘No Deal Brexit’ and we approach the date of the People’s Vote March for the Future in Central London on 20 October, our panelists will explore the possible impact of Brexit on the cultural sector and ask how we should respond as artists and stakeholders working within the arts. The panel will also discuss the changing funding landscape and our shifting relationship with Europe.
Free but tickets must be booked here:
Panelists will include:
Shoair Mavlian, Director of Photoworks and former Assistant Curator at Tate Modern.
Mahtab Hussain, whose work explores the relationship between identity, heritage and displacement. Mahtab was recently featured on the BBC 4 documentary ‘What Do Artists Do All Day?’.
Natasha Caruana, artist and Senior Lecturer of Photography at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, UK
and Uta Kogelsberger, a London based artist working with photography, video installation and sound. Uta’s new work ‘Uncertain Subjects: Part II’ being shown as part of the 2018 Brighton Photo Biennial gives a voice to those who feel they are not being heard in the current Brexit negotiations.
It has been convened by Brighton-based artist Simon Roberts, who is showing work during the festival exploring Brexit.
Flowers Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition by British photographer Simon Roberts, bringing together works from his extended photographic surveys of Russia and Britain produced over a period of 15 years.
Simon Roberts is known for his major bodies of work, We English, Pierdom, and Merrie Albion, which together comprise one of the most significant contemporary photographic studies of Britain since the new color documentary of the 1980s. His earlier series Motherland remains one of the most extensive, comprehensive photographic accounts of Russia by a Western photographer. Presented together in this exhibition, Homeland explores Roberts’ critical reflection on the relationship between contemporary national identity and place, and his ongoing investigation of what draws people together within a particular landscape.
Free entry and open Tuesday to Saturday 10am – 6pm
Simon will be in conversation with W.M Hunt on Saturday November 17 at 3.30pm.
Press Release: (pdf).
Image: Extract from ‘The Thames Wunderkammer: Tales from Victoria Embankment in Two Parts’ An artwork commissioned by Tideway, 2017
Wednesday 5 September, 7pm (doors open 6.30pm)
Tideway Cottons Centre, SE1
Free but booking required (please see below)
An ‘in-conversation’ between Simon Roberts and David Prior, Head of Public Services and Outreach at the Parliamentary Archives, chaired by curator, Rachel Fleming-Mulford.
Using his large-scale artwork for the Victoria Embankment, commissioned by Tideway, as a starting point, Simon Roberts will discuss his photography and his approach to the creation of the artwork, which references the rich and varied history of that section of the Victoria Embankment and the River Thames. Roberts took photographs at the site but also researched objects and images from a wide variety of archives and collections in London to create the work.
“The design is created to reflect the literal and metaphorical layering of the landscape, in which objects from the past and present are juxtaposed to evoke new meanings. The hoarding represents an aesthetic excavation of the area, so that diverse elements, both manmade and natural, can co-exist in new ways.
“All the objects are presented as a metaphoric Victorian ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’. Modern terminology would categorise the objects included as belonging to natural history, geology, ethnography, archaeology, religious or historical relics, works of art, and antiquities.”
Simon is joined by David Prior, who is Head of Public Services and Outreach at the Parliamentary Archives. The Parliamentary Archives holds the records of both Houses of Parliament. The records, which date from 1497, reflect the ways in which Parliament has affected the lives of individuals and communities and the processes by which people have been able to influence the work of Parliament. David’s responsibilities include the curation and management of exhibitions and displays, the development of community outreach activities and the provision of facilities for public access to the Archives. He will bring his fascinating perspective as a heritage expert to the discussion.
Part of Totally Thames Festival 2018 that runs from 1-30 September.
I will be discussing my most recent project, Merrie Albion, in Bristol at Martin Parr’s new foundation. Copies of the book will also be available.
Image: Daniel Meadows National Portrait (Three Boys and a Pigeon) 1974. Courtesy the artist.
For the first time in human history, more people are living in urban environments than in the countryside, yet the impulse to seek out nature remains as strong as ever. This new exhibition of photographs at The Hepworth Wakefield features leading British photographers Shirley Baker, Bill Brandt, Anna Fox, Chris Killip, Martin Parr and Tony Ray-Jones, Simon Roberts and explores our evolving relationship with the natural world and how this shapes individuals and communities.
Drawn from the collection of Claire and James Hyman, which comprises more than 3,000 photographs ranging from conceptual compositions to documentary-style works, Modern Nature will include around 60 photographs taken since the end of the Second World War, through the beginnings of de-industrialisation to the present day. It will explore the merging of urban and rural landscapes, the rapid expansion of cities and the increasingly intrusive management of the countryside.
Here’s a recent feature in the Guardian about the exhibition.
Modern Nature runs from 13 July until 22 April 2019 at The Hepworth Wakefield. Admission is free.
‘Another Europe‘ celebrates the European Year of Cultural Heritage and Austria’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The exhibition features 28 photographs, one from each EU Member-State, mounted on specially designed concrete benches around London’s Kings Cross area – the UK’s ‘Gateway to Europe’. Organised by Austrian Cultural Forum London.
To celebrate the European Year of Cultural Heritage and Austria’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Austrian Cultural Forum London in collaboration with the Representation of the European Commission in the UK and EUNIC (European Union National Institutes of Culture) presents Another Europe, an outdoor exhibition of photographs, around the Kings Cross area of London, exploring the diversity of European Heritage.
Another Europe features 28 photographs, one from each EU Member-State, mounted on specially designed concrete benches dispersed around London’s King’s Cross area. The photographers represent a wide range of photographic practices and are a mixture of established and emerging talents. Together they voice themes and influences we all recognise as part of our cultural heritage from concrete manifestations such as monuments, buildings and sites to the more ephemeral social aspects such as childhood, fairytales; theatre, landscape, conflict, work, celebration, family, memories, literature and traditions.
Images of NATO observation towers by Belgian photographer Els van den Meersch contrast with those of a wedding ceremony in Greece by George Tatakis, Petra Lajdova’s striking portrait of a woman in traditional Slovakian clothing, Marketa Luskacova’sCzech carnival scenes or the installation of a Jeff Koons sculpture at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum by Henk Wildschut. Italian photographer Massimo Vitali, famous for his heat-infused Mediterranean beach scenes, has photographed the Rome Forum while Simon Roberts (UK) brings us a very British beach scene of the Charles Dickens celebration at Broadstairs.
Curated by UK artist Hamish Park, the exhibiting artists are in full:
Jean Back (Luxembourg), Gerry Balfe Smith (Ireland), Jelena Blagović (Croatia), Paulo Catrica (Portugal) Emil Danailov (Bulgaria), Joanna Demarco (Malta), Alvaro Deprit (Spain), Tamas Dezso (Hungary), Jeanette Hagglund (Sweden), Nina Korhonen (Finland), Astrid Kruse Jensen (Denmark), Petra Lajdova (Slovakia), Marketa Luskacova (Czech Republic), Marlot & Chopard (France), Adam Panczuk (Poland), Klaus Pichler (Austria) Romualdas Požerskis (Lithuania), Birgit Püve (Estonia), Simon Roberts (UK), Oana Stoian (Romania), George Tatakis (Greece), Andrej Tarfila (Slovenia), Andreas Trogisch (Germany), Thodoris Tzalavras (Cyprus), Iveta Vaivode (Latvia), Els van den Meersch (Belgium), Massimo Vitali (Italy), Henk Wildschut (Netherlands).
I will be one of the speakers at this year’s Street London festival in East London.
Street London returns in August this year with a new theme. We want to explore the ‘borders’ of street photography: where street photography meets photojournalism, art photography and portraiture.
Come join us for talks, shooting, panel discussions, drinks and much more.
TIckets available HERE.