Sonia Boyce: Venice Golden Lion Winner’s Inaugural Show At Simon Lee




Just for the Record is a new exhibition by the 2022 Venice Biennale Golden Lion winner Sonia Boyce OBE RA’s. It is her inaugural solo exhibition at the Simon Lee gallery.

Since 1999, Sonia Boyce’s Devotional project has worked in dialogue with the public to collectively gather the names and memorabilia of black British women in music. Just for the Record presents a series of new works that both extend this project and turn memorabilia into the material through which ideas of appropriation, play and chance in art-making are explored.

Geometric wallpapers cover three of the gallery’s walls, with designs created from Boyce’s growing mobile phone archive of found imagery. Transformed by the artist into patterns using mirrors, these designs are crucially arrived at by chance – the result of playful experimentation. Alongside these wallpapers, Boyce presents large-scale photographic prints of fly-posters advertising the concerts, music festivals and album releases of performers who make up the Devotional collection. Shot by the artist on her travels through towns and cities across the UK, the prints raise questions of appropriation but also consider the ubiquitous presence of popular performers in our everyday lives and the public realm.

A short silent film titled Just One Minute More, a re-animated appropriation of Derek Jarman’s film The Tempest(1979), will also debut alongside In the Mix, an installation of wallpapered sculptures adorned with music memorabilia. Pitting colours against patterns against objects, the sculptures create tension at the centre of the gallery space, with abundant visual information competing for our attention.

Sonia Boyce’s inaugural exhibition at the gallery is the artist’s first solo presentation since FEELING HER WAY, a major new commission for the British Pavilion at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia for which she was awarded the Golden Lion for Best National Participation. Following this historic win, the works in Just for the Record come together to offer unique insight into the artist’s contemporary practice.

Sonia Boyce OBE RA (b.1962) was born in London, UK, where she continues to live and work. In 2022, Boyce represents the UK at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia with FEELING HER WAY, a major new commission for the British Pavilion, for which she was awarded the Golden Lion for Best National Participation. In 2019, the artist received an OBE for services to art in the Queen’s New Year Honours List and an Honorary Doctorate from the Royal College of Art. In 2016, Boyce was elected a Royal Academician and received a Paul Hamlyn Artist Award. Between 2012 – 2017, Boyce was a Professor of Fine Art at Middlesex University, and since 2014 she has been a Professor at the University of the Arts London. As the inaugural Chair of Black Art & Design, she led a 3-year research project into Black Artists & Modernism, which led to a BBC documentary Whoever Heard of a Black Artist? Britain’s Hidden Art History (2018).

Image: Just One Minute More, 2016, 1 Minute More, TRT: 59 Seconds, Monitor dimensions variable. Photo: Copyright of the artist © Sonia Boyce. All Rights Reserved, DACS/Artimage 2022.

From 12 October – 16 December 2022, the exhibition coincides with Boyce’s Cork Street Banners commission, unveiled on 13 October 2022.

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