Simon Denny Art Exhibition, Serpentine Sackler Gallery
The Serpentine presents the work of Simon Denny (born 1982 in Auckland, New Zealand), an artist who works with sculptural installations that include print, graphics, moving images and texts. The first solo show of Denny's work in London is developed in response to the Serpentine Sackler Gallery and features new installations that revolve around contemporary radical management practices and the historical hacker organisational forms that may have inspired them.
Denny has risen to critical acclaim with his work New Management (2014) and most recently with the installation Secret Power (2015), New Zealand’s pavilion for the 56th Venice Biennale.
Denny is one of the leading figures of a generation of artists who employ content from the tech industry, the language of advertising and the aesthetics and ideologies of corporations or governmental bodies to scrutinise technology's role in shaping global culture. With the precision of an investigative journalist, Denny’s complex and layered installations explore the commodification of information, branding and marketing strategies, as well as the relationship between private and public industries. His work challenges numerous themes which are rooted in modern society’s globalised cultures of technology, consumerism, organisation and information control and dissemination.
Through two large-scale installations, which divide the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, Denny looks at technological organizational models in both hacker circles and commercial companies. Hacker culture and tactics are addressed through an adaptation of a work realised in collaboration with architect Alessandro Bava. Made of scaffolding and featuring a constructed path, visitors are invited to experience and walk through this structure and encounter a number of sculptures, models and vitrines developed by Denny with artist/researcher Matt Goerzen and artist/brand consultant Emily Segal. Each of the vitrines presents a social narrative on the organisational history of hacking through gathered archival material. Opposite this, in the other half of the Gallery, Denny uses the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) – one of the three UK agencies that form the country’s security and intelligence system – and commercial tech companies like Zappos and Apple as case studies encapsulated within a new series of sculptural models. These works investigate the ways in which organisations mirror their respective working models with their building’s architecture and use of physical space. Throughout the exhibition, organisational tools emerge as common threads, and connections between the disparate yet similar ways that groups of people gather around technology.
Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, and Hans Ulrich-Obrist, Co-Director, said:
“Denny skilfully articulates the language of consumerism – and how it permeates the virtual world – through immaculately sleek and beautifully executed objects, installations and sculptural interventions. The robust physicality of his work stands in contrast to the elusive nature of his subject matter and, through both installations that divide the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, he emphasises the grey area between private and public industries, digital and material culture. His work sheds a light on subject-matter that is often rendered invisible to the general public due to its complexity and the lack of available information.”
The Serpentine’s winter exhibitions focus on the role technology plays in contemporary life. Running concurrently at the Serpentine Gallery is an exhibition of works by Michael Craig-Martin. His show features recent drawings and paintings of objects that utilise digital technologies, including new pieces that have been conceived especially for the exhibition.
Simon Denny (b. 1982 in Auckland, New Zealand) is an artist working with installation, sculpture and video. He studied at the Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland, New Zealand and at the Städelschule, Frankfurt. Selected solo exhibitions include MoMA PS1, New York (2015); Portikus, Frankfurt (2014); MuMOK, Vienna (2013); Kunstverein Munich, Munich (2013); and Aspen Art Museum, Aspen (2012). In 2012, Denny was awarded the Art Basel Statements Baloise Preis. Selected group shows include Lyon Biennale 2015; After Babel, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2015); Europe, Europe, Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo (2014); Art Post-Internet, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2014); Speculations on Anonymous Materials, Fridericianum, Kassel (2013); Image into Sculpture, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2013); and Remote Control, ICA, London (2012). Denny represented New Zealand at the 56 th Venice Biennale 2015 and was included in the central curated exhibition in 2013. He was included in the Lyon Biennale (2015), Montreal Biennale (2014), as well as the Sydney Biennale and the Brussels Biennale (both in 2008).