Galerie Polaris, 15 rue des Arquebusiers, 75003 Paris Tel : 00 33 (0° 1 42 72 21 27
April 16 - May 09, 2015

In this recent series of paintings  taking place in the intimate and welcomed gallery Polaris, one of the most today’s interesting British artist : Simon Willems, takes hermit landscapes from art history and re-imagines them as the counter-intuitive backdrop for a programme of corporate team building activities. Like other recent projects the contemporary hermit takes centre-stage here as a metaphor of worldly withdrawal and disengagement. Re-contextualising this ancient motif from painting’s past, Salvator Rosa (1615 – 1673) and Carl Spitzweg (1808-1885) provide appropriate historical fodder for Willems absurd vision and unlikely pairing of realities. Corporate coercion is met by voluntary seclusion and played out accordingly within a game of paintball. The adrenaline of indoor climbing and fancy-dress tug-of-war off offer up the cliché   of the self at once erased and subsumed through the cunning of corporate strategy for maximum return.


Partly inspired by philosopher  Simon Critchley’s working definition of ‘structured fun’, as it unfolds in his 2002 publication On Humour, the contemporary ramifications of selling out to the team and selling out to the self  become a paradoxical point of departure. The aim, it appears, is to dissolve these seeming opposites within an inch of each other, exploring their material dissolution within the painted surface. The ironic title Universal Solutions incorporated scrawled in a child’s hand on a paint-balled wall doubles-up as a company logo; the authentically inauthentic insignia forming a design that Willems presents as a lanyard.



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