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Simon Patterson Artist Biography

Simon Patterson is one of the most consistently inventive of the generation of London-based artists who came to international prominence in the 1990’s. A complex manipulation of systems of classification, documentation, description and understanding, his work urges us to reconsider how and why we think we know what we know.

Simon Patterson was born in Leatherhead, Surrey in 1967. He is the younger brother of YBA painter Richard Patterson. As a child he painted and made papier-mache models, "I always knew that art was what I wanted to do", he told The Guardian in an interview.

Between 1985 and 1989, Simon Patterson attended Hertfordshire College of Art and Design and Goldsmith’s College. At Goldsmith’s he was included in the ‘Freeze’ exhibitions, where he exhibited two wall text pieces. One, ’The Last Supper Arranged According to the Flat Back Four Formation (Jesus Christ in Goal)’ showed the names of the Apostles arranged as a football team formation diagram with Jesus in goal.

In 1996, Simon Patterson was nominated for the Turner Prize for his best known work, ‘The Great Bear’. The piece is a re-working of the London Underground map in which station names have been substituted with the names of celebrities, Old Masters and Chinese dissidents. Oxford Circus became Titian and Hampstead Audrey Hepburn, for example. By transforming authoritative data with his own associations he challenged existing rationales and the result was light-hearted, amusing and thought provoking. A 20th anniversary version of Simon Patterson's famous Tube map went on display in 2012 at the London Transport Museum. The stations were rechristened in accordance with the cultural mood, with the Jubilee line being devoted to bankers and the Hammersmith and City being made up of Murdochs. Simon Patterson has created large scale projects and installations, such as "Cosmic Wallpaper" at the University of Warwick and a Wilfred Owen tribute.

His artwork humorously dislocates and subverts sources of information such as maps, diagrams and constellation charts by replacing the names of star constellations with the history of a heavy metal band, for example. His work is included in the Tate Collection, the Museum of Modern Art, New York and numerous other international collections. He has exhibited widely in both group and solo shows in the UK and around the world. He has also taught at the Slade School of Fine Art. His advice to a young artist starting out: “Show with your peers to get noticed. There's strength in numbers.”

More art prints from Simon Patterson

Rhodes Reason By Simon Patterson
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