Press release | 5 January 2018
During Unseen Amsterdam 2017, Theo Simpson (b. 1986, UK) was selected by an international jury as the recipient of the Outset | Unseen Exhibition Fund. Foam presents his forthcoming solo exhibition Part and Whole at Foam 3h. Theo Simpson’s work stands out for its unique visual language, which combines photography with alternate forms of material expression such as sculpture and site-specific work. Simpson uses his own local landscape of Northern England as the starting point for an exploration of the dynamic interactions between ideologies, economies, industries and environments.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the economy of England was dominated by heavy industry spurred on by technological advancements and innovative engineering. International competition, economic stagnation and political influence caused a disastrous decline in these industries in the 1970s and 1980s, coinciding with the decline and collapse of substantial local and national industries. Starting out as a photographer documenting the landscapes intrinsic to this decline, he used this early investigation to adopt a more analytical, process-based methodology, at its core man-made materials and the application of varied processes.
Simpson’s compositions and their specifications express different clues towards an understanding of his visual puzzles. By combining and layering such varied streams of imagery and materials together, as expressed through elements such as the use of visionary slogans from old advertisements of defunct British car brands, or by adopting colours from their old colour charts, Simpson’s works recall the spirit and ideas of contrasting times. Even though sometimes such components refer to vanished industries, through the arrangement of materials and data, use of techniques and processes, his works simultaneously reflect aspects of these industrial periods that live on through the ever present optimism in the those ideas and pioneering nature of the technology.
Vanden Plas, 2017 © Theo Simpson/ Webber Gallery, London
Part and Whole features a selection of his most recent works, a number of which premieres at Foam. This includes the site-specific sculpture Helical Column, made out of construction materials usually are not visible, but part of internal structures. In his work, Theo Simpson creates a dialogue between the past and the present, reconsidering personal and cultural myths, dreams, losses and promises referring to the industrial past of his surroundings, opening up a space where a new dialogue can begin.
ABOUT THEO SIMPSON
Theo Simpson lives and works in Lincolnshire, England and studied at the Sheffield Institute of Arts. His work has recently featured in the group show A Green and Pleasant Land, Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne and in February 2017 his solo exhibition The land of the day before was shown at Webber Gallery, London. Simpson´s work is held in various international public collections including the V&A National Art Library, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Royal Institute of British Architects and the Tate Artists’ Book Library. He was nominated for the Foam Paul Huf Award in 2017 and his work is featured in the latest issue of Foam Magazine #49: Back to the Future. Theo Simpson is represented by Webber Gallery, London.
Foam 3h: Theo Simpson - Part and Whole is made possible by the Gieskes-Strijbis Fund, the Van Bijlevelt Foundation and Outset Netherlands. With special thanks to Webber Gallery, London.
Foam 3h: Theo Simpson - Part and Whole can be seen from 19 January until 1 April 2018 at Foam. Open daily 10am - 6pm, Thurs/Fri 10am - 9pm.
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