Oliver Clegg. Don’t You? Don’t You?. Acrylic, steel, electric motor, pin spots, and wood. 77.5 x 45.7 x 45.7 cm. Courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist.
Everything Should Be OK
Through January 5, 2017
Private preview: Sunday, November 13, 6–9pm
Unit 21, Alserkal Avenue
T +9714 (0) 346 9906
Lawrie Shabibi is pleased to announce Everything Should Be OK a solo exhibition by New York-based British artist Oliver Clegg, who works between two and three-dimensional disciplines using a diverse range of materials and methods. Delving into the complexities of modern life, Clegg wittily presents a narrative that oscillates between the tragic and comic revealing a broad set of interests that touch upon opposing notions of life such as birth and death, joy and sorrow, childhood and aging.
For this exhibition Clegg presents a selection of new and older paintings of discarded childhood toys and other household objects on used table tops, church floorboards and the scratched wooden backs of old small storage boxes. The wood that the artist chooses is always intentional: ”The nostalgic nature of both the surfaces and the subjects are mechanisms for inspiring the viewer to consider his position in the present day with fictitious reconstructions of the past,” says Clegg. In other paintings within this continuing body of work he has also worked with old church pews and school desks showing his ambivalence towards both institutions. The artist was brought up with a religious background and began making work just as the internet began its relentless advance. Old authority and the internet—two binary notions and how they fit together—inform much of Clegg’s art making.
Clegg also presents two other works that highlight both the diversity of his materials and another major facet in his work—the question of self. References to cinema and music recur throughout his work. In Don’t You? Don’t You? (an installation that takes its title from the lyrics of “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon) Clegg suspends a disco ball in an oversized shipping crate, that reflects the words “me, me, me” around the space in thousands of multiples; meanwhile I HOPE WE NEVER DIE, SO DO I, DO YOU THINK THERE IS ANY CHANCE OF IT? takes a look at the question of self in the 21st century. A wall-based piece taking 81 birth certificates the artist bought over the course of a year using ebay, has laser cut into each an actual end title taken from a film from the year of that person’s birth, an exercise reinforcing Thomas Fuller’s melancholic assertion that “birth is the beginning of death.”
About Oliver Clegg
With his erudite, surprising and striking repertoire, and his diverse materials and methods, British artist Oliver Clegg offers the viewer a complex, sometimes playful, other times moving journey into existential and ontological notions of objecthood and matter, images and signs, language and communication, creation and being.
Oliver Clegg has shown internationally since graduating in 2007 in Rome, Czech Republic, South Korea, Australia, London, New York, Hungary, Milan and has been included at the Prague, Busan and Venice Biennales. He has also been included in museum shows at the Reykjavik Museum of Modern art, Dox Centre for the Contemporary Art, The Saatchi gallery and The Busan Modern Art Museum. In 2013 he showed again at the Venice Biennale in a group show curated by the Hermitage Museum in Russia at the Palazzo Franchetti and in 2014 was included in a group show curated by collector Susanne Van Hagen at S|2 Gallery London. His work is included in many private and public collections including the Getty family, Anita and Poju Zabludowicz, David Roberts, Charles Riva, Fatima and Eskandar Maleki, Faisal and Sara Tamer, and Deutsche Bank.
About Lawrie Shabibi
Lawrie Shabibi is a contemporary art gallery housed in Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue. The gallery supports the long-term development of the careers of young and mid-career international contemporary artists with a focus on those from the Middle East and North Africa. The gallery also works with an older generation of artists from the region and organizes art historical exhibitions.
For more information, images or media enquiries contact Margaret Antelme:
firstname.lastname@example.org / T +971 4 346 9906