When one looks at [Mr. Lichtenstein’s] paintings as handmade readymades, the problems are much more complex… It becomes art through a process that forces the critic outside art as such to become a sort of social critic.
― Brian O’Doherty, 1963
Simon Lee Gallery presents an exhibition of new paintings by Merlin Carpenter. The show considers the hand-painted object’s capacity to engage with and complicate the language and history of the readymade.
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Merlin Carpenter’s work grapples with the potential relationship between painting and the readymade; and the possibility of collapsing the ideas that distinguish these practices. Since the 1990s the readymade object has been an integral line of inquiry in Carpenter’s work; and in more recent years he has presented a number of readymade works that hang flat on the wall like a painting. Carpenter’s new hyperrealistic paintings push the boundaries of painting into the discourse of the readymade in another way: the five works are so highly finished that they appear like a product, delivered from elsewhere. In this stark new presentation, Carpenter encourages the audience to both critique the authenticity of the paintings and simultaneously accept the role of the artist’s hand.
Born in 1967, Merlin Carpenter lives in Shepperton, UK, and works in London and Berlin. Carpenter’s work has been shown extensively internationally and has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including Overduin & Co., Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Los Angeles, CA, 2018; Simon Lee Gallery, London, 2017; Galerie Neu, Berlin 2017; dépendance, Brussels, Belgium, 2016; Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, Switzerland, 2015; The Opening series of shows 2007- 2009; Bergen Kunsthall, Norway 2005; American Fine Arts, Co., New York, NY, 2003; Secession, Vienna 2000; and projects, including Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY which travelled to Centre Pompidou, Paris, France, 2015; and Museum Brandhorst, Munich, Germany, 2015, which travelled to mumok, Vienna, 2016. His work is in major private and public collections including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France and The British Council, London, UK.
Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery. Photo: Ben Westoby
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