Adam McEwen

Adam McEwen,Gagosian

The exhibition on Davies Street introduces new obituary works by Adam McEwen, who is returning to this ongoing series for the first time in over a decade. As with the artist’s paintings and life-size sculptures made of graphite and other materials, these works operate between the familiar and the uncanny, optimism and oblivion.

In London, blown-up facsimiles of obituaries are dedicated to well-known people, including musicians Grace Jones and Dolly Parton, Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton, and climate activist Greta Thunberg. Contemporary public figures with a diverse range of life stories and accomplishments, all of them are in fact, still alive.

Begun in 2000, the series predates the ubiquity and ambiguities of social media in its consideration of history, truth, and fiction. The obituary works initially emerged from McEwen’s previous experience of writing obituaries part-time while a young artist in London. They reflect the roles that his selected

subjects have played in defining contemporary understandings of the environment, technology, spirituality, culture, and identity.

Recontextualized from the newspaper page to expansive images on the gallery wall, these works emulate the look and written style of a printed newspaper of record, complete with a representative photograph and detailed expository text. McEwen adopts the detached tone characteristic of the form, distilling a lifetime of experiences and personal qualities into summary prose. Presented as posthumous, the accounts incite feelings of both recognition and paradox, prompting the viewer to consider their subjects afresh, to contemplate the hypothetical loss of these individuals, and to envision a world in which they are absent.

Lead image:

Adam McEwen, Untitled (Greta), 2023. Chromogenic print, dry-mounted on Dibond. 60 × 40 inches. Edition of 5 + 3 AP

© Adam McEwen. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian

Duration 26 January 2023 - 11 March 2023
Times Tuesday–Saturday 10–6
Cost Free
Venue Gagosian (Davies Street)
Address 17-19 Davies Street, London, W1K 3DE
Contact 020 7493 3020 / /