Simon Holly : The tipyn point

29 November 2008 - 17 January 2009

<i>Marilyn (Ali)</i> 2005
Marilyn (Ali) 2005

A grid system underpins the collage work of Simon Holly. Glossy low-culture posters are deconstructed, and meticulously re-assembled, transformed and subverted. Square by square, a poster of a tropical idyll is re-ordered as a symmetrical pattern, a motorcycle becomes a bowl of cherries, Marylin Monroe, an icon of feminine sexuality is reconfigured into Muhammed Ali, the ultimate fighting machine and vice versa.

Simon’s work deals with this information. For the show at g39 Simon explores the vast wealth of images available to us through various sources. He tests the ‘quality’, hierarchy and availability of images, and notions of their similarity, distinction and authenticity. Part of his practice is a negotiation and filtering of imagery in an attempt to find something of value or interest.

He is interested in the issue of cloning, the process of sampling, taking a mass of structural information and placing it within a new construction. Working with pixel sized pieces of information he is interested in how they become signifiers only when placed alongside like or unlike information.

Every image I work with is translated through the grid system, an analogy to the pixels of digital images. A grid, by its nature, is uniform and non-hieratical. I am drawn towards quite specific types of image. They are often flat and not spatial, blank and everyday and convey their form through standardised colours that we are familiar with. Being free of any complicated cultural baggage, they are more able to transcend their original form when I put them through the translating process.

When I look at these images, and the other images I like but never use, I always view them as a very real material. Beginning with me as an image filter, through an objective process that reveal subjective decisions made within it, to the final piece of work that transcends its original state, I want to make art that allows the viewer to break down and look at the image as I once did.

Simon is a technology native. Just a generation before him viewed the world as rolling atoms, as dotted halftone or in the random grain of the photograph; Simon sees the world in terms of stacked and ordered pixels, grids translate source material and they are democratic and fixed; no individual square relays more essential information of the image as a whole than any other. His work is about the viewer reading and understanding a mass of ordered information, how the images break down into their constituent parts as you get physically closer and start to understand the order of information. It is only when viewed in its entirety that an image ‘makes sense’ – and that sense is mutable and shifting.

  • <i>Break On Through (To The Other Side)</i> 2008
  • <i>Marilyn (Ali)</i> 2005
  • <i>Muhammed (Monroe)</i> 2004 -05
  • <i>Xcuse Me While I Kiss The Sky</i> 2007
  • <i>Bucky Cherry Drops</i> 2008
  • Detail of <i>Western Cwm, Everest </i> 2007