02 July 2016 - 30 July 2016

Simon Terrill, Nouns of Assembly

 

In his third solo exhibition at Sutton Gallery, Simon Terrill brings together a triptych of photographs plus a sculpture and a text piece running the length of the gallery walls. He aligns fantasy architecture of the funfair with the utopian proposition of the unrealised monument that is Tatlin's Tower. Terrill's continued exploration of gathering and crowding is extended into spaces that are presented under a utilitarian and political guise.

The photographic triptych presents the Tuesday Market Place in King's Lynn, a town 150km North of London. This site has a long history with the funfair. The Charter for a market was originally granted to the town in 1204, it subsequently became the site of the Valentine's Day Fair in 1537 via an edict from Henry VIII. Since the latter half of the 19th century it has been the first funfair in the Showmen's calendar. It is here that distinctions between fair and mart, pleasure and commerce, stage and shop, have merged over time into what we now recognize as the vertigo inducing pleasurescapes of the contemporary funfair.

Centrally positioned in the installation Terrill's 4.2-meter high recreation of Vladimir Tatlin's Monument to the Third International is rendered as a 2D sculpture/drawing in space. Derived from Tatlin's drawings of "the most famous building never built"1 and described by Trotsky as "an impression of scaffolding which someone has forgotten to take away"2, this landmark of utopian architecture is remodelled as a prototype for a playground, using the thick black safety rope and connectors that are commonly used in these constructions. Often remade, in various forms and for a variety of purposes, the intention here is in the placement of Tatlin's tower within a sphere of play, of open participation that acknowledges its anti-monument origins.

A linguistic game, Nouns of Assembly/Terms of Venery lines the wall with a list of nouns used to collectively describe groupings of animals, a form of literary play that first came about from a hunting tradition of the Late Middle Ages. It was a linguistic game of one-upmanship whereby whoever could come up with the most apt linguistic illusion to animal crowding won the day. In a murder of crows, a mess of iguanas or a troop of kangaroos the idea has taken root.

Terrill's Nouns of Assembly installation positions entertainment and spectacle against utopian ambitions, the crowd across sites and species becomes suggestive of universality in the desire to congregate.

Simon Terrill has exhibited extensively since 1998. Recent solo exhibitions include; Creative Connections National Portrait Gallery, London, 2016; The Brutalist Playground, The Royal Institute of British Architects, 2015; Tilt, Sutton Gallery Melbourne, 2013; Crowd Theory Adelaide, Samstag Museum of Art, University of South Australia, 2013, Balfron Project, The Nunnery Gallery, London, 2011 and Phantom, Sutton Gallery, 2011. His work has been included in numerous group exhibitions both locally and internationally, including: Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy, London, 2011; Contemporary Encounters, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2010; William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize, Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne, 2009; Photo-ID, Contemporary Art Norwich (CAN09), 2009; and FX in Contemporary Photography, McClelland Gallery + Sculpture Park, Melbourne, 2008. Terrill has been the recipient of a number of prestigious awards, including grants and residencies from the Australia Council (2009, 2002 and 1998). He was awarded the Acme Studios' Bow Cross Residency, London, and the Bow Arts Heritage Studio Residency, Balfron Tower, London, in 2010 and the Anne and Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship in 2007. His works are held in important public and private collections in Australia and the UK.

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Artwork from exhibition by Simon Terrill,