Exactly twenty years since its inaugural exhibition in February 1997, the Stanley Picker Gallery building reflects back upon itself, through a group show bringing together an architectural intervention by Simon Martin, a site-specific commission by Augustas Serapinas, and a series of photographic studies of the Picker House interiors by Bridget Smith.
Simon Martin is Stanley Picker Fine Art Fellow at Kingston University. Building upon his past work on subjectivity and the built environment, he is undertaking new research around ideas of Objecthood, sound and memory. Whilst the first public manifestation of Martin’s fellowship commission will take place in the coming year, the artist has intervened in the current layout of the venue as an artistic gesture which nods to the Gallery’s past. Through a simple act of reinstating the original entrance, exposing previously hidden windows, and removing all artificial lighting, Martin reconfigures the building and its navigation, returning its essential architectural status, and highlighting its island location along the Hogsmill River, opposite Kingston School of Art.
Augustas Serapinas’ practice is invested in recomposing socially engaged spaces, in order to foreground and problematise the assumptions that shape them. By inverting the customary functions of objects and spatiality, Serapinas toys with the possibilities of the encounter – with art and with the social relations it engenders – as a phenomenon and an opportunity. Serapinas’ new commission at Stanley Picker Gallery is a secret project, entrusted by the artist to the infrastructure of the organisation, including its staff. As the project evolves over the course of the exhibition, its secrecy also transforms oscillating between facts and rumours.
In juxtaposition to the minimal intervention in the main exhibition space, Bridget Smith’s series of six photographs creates a unique portrait of the Picker House’s strikingly designed interiors. Stanley Picker, the arts patron after whom our Gallery is named, lived there until his death in 1982. The domestic setting remains immaculately preserved, very much as it was when Stanley resided there with his life-partner Paul Kavanagh. Smith’s images respond to the theatrical sensibility of the House, moving from the more public spaces filled with daylight and warm orange furnishings to the yellow and green subterranean light of the private rooms. Smith plays off the charged atmosphere of the House, detached from the life of its inhabitants. It is the exuberant artworks that are now the animated presence in the space, pointing to the life force once held within. To commemorate its 20th anniversary, the Gallery has produced a postcard edition of these six images, forming part of a special episodic mail-out designed by Fraser Muggeridge studio, released over the course of this year.
Simon Martin was born in Cheshire, England in 1965, and lives and works in London. Selected solo exhibitions include Camden Arts Centre, London (2015); Focal Point Gallery, Southend- on-Sea (offsite commission 2014); Kunstverein Amsterdam, Amsterdam (2010); Chisenhale Gallery, London (2008); The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto (2006); White Columns, New York (2005). Selected group exhibitions include JAGUARS AND ELECTRIC EELS, Julia Stoschek Collection Berlin (2017); The Parliament of Things, Firstsite, Colchester (2015); The Event Sculpture, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds (2014); Glasgow International, Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow (2014); The Imaginary Museum, Kunstverein, Munich (with Ed Atkins) (2012); Martin was the recipient of a Paul Hamlyn Award (2008) and shortlisted for the Jarman Award (2009), and received the Stanley Picker Fine Art Fellowship in 2015.
Augustas Serapinas was born in Vilnius, Lithuania in 1990, and lives and works in Vilnius. He attended the Rupert Educational Program in Vilnius, LT (2014) and completed a BA Fine Arts from the Vilnius Academy of Arts, Vilnius, LT (2013) and The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, DK (2013). Recent exhibitions include Dusting the Grounds, David Roberts Art Foundation (London, UK – 2016); Philip, Lukas & Isidora, SALTS (Basel, CH – 2015); Double Bind, Rupert (Vilnius, LT – 2015); 6th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, (Moscow, RU – 2015) and The Future of Memory. An Exhibition on the Infinity of the Present Time, Kunsthalle Wien, (Vienna, AU, 2015).
Bridget Smith was born in Essex, England, in 1966. She is currently Artist in Residence at the Swedenborg Society, London. Selected exhibitions include Frith Street Gallery, London (solo) (2016); Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea (solo) (2015); Now It Is Permitted: 24 Wayside Pulpits, Swedenborg House, London, Lovin’ it, Bromer Art Collection, Roggwil, Switzerland (group) (2013); The Occupants: Contemporary Perspectives on the Picker House, Stanley Picker Gallery, London (group) (2012); Peer, London (solo) (2010); Two Rooms Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand (solo) (2008); Stardust or the Last Frontier, Musée D’art Contemporain, Val de Marne (group) (2007); De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea (solo) (2006)
Above image: Stanley Picker Gallery 16th December 2016 (2016). Image courtesy of Mark Blower