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First solo show in France of Simon Evans opens at Palais de Tokyo
Simon Evans, How to Live with a Loved One’s Illness, 2007, mixed media on paper, framed. © Simon Evans Courtesy James Cohan Gallery (New York / Shanghai).

PARIS.- Palais de Tokyo is presenting the first solo show in France of Simon Evans, the duo of artists who won the 2014 Canson® Prize. With works on paper mingling art and life, these artists invite us to enter a space which recreates the maze of their minds.

Simon Evans is a duo of self-taught artists, bringing together Simon Evans (born in 1972 in London, lives and works in New York) and Sarah Lannan (born in 1984 in the USA, lives and works in New York). They misappropriate various typically rationalistic tools (lists, maps, diagrams) so as to compose radically subjective work. Embodying forms of dialogue between their interiorities and the world, their pieces act as much as a research for the meaning to allot to individual experience, as a permanent exercise in the re-appropriation of the everyday.

"When I was a kid, I would make adventurer maps, burning the edges with a cigarette lighter. My best one was of Captain Scott’s doomed expedition. The love of maps comes from the view they provide. It’s drawing and walking around. The map is the place. It’s what’s there and reacts to itself. I found that I could explore ideas physically without moving and they don’t disappear or have to agree. I liked the power of maps and the ability to control. I destroyed the town I grew up in by making a map of it" 1

"Endlessly fascinating, the buttressing arrays of diagrams, genealogical tables, inventory lists and even the thin white duke of Modern art - the grid - appear at first to consolidate something in the artist’s work. These systems put some distance between the aesthetic and the overtly personal, for sure, while simultaneously laying bare and even sharpening our perception of the refractory, unmanageable elements of the content. These markers of frenetic individuality makes it all the more clear that Social Constructivists and their loyal followers from the department of hygiene really cannot fit the work into their agendas. It’s too dirty." 2

The works of the winners of the 2014 Canson® Prize are expressed in graphics and diagrams, schemas and plans, classifications and inventories, set in the heritage of the experiments of Georges Perec, Guy Debord and the Situationists. On these rationalising tools are superimposed autobiographical tales, metaphysical speculations or else other unclassifiable observations; poetic, analytical or absurd considerations, in the form of moving and intuitive writings, in touch with the “exterior”. By mixing drawings, words and collages, most often using sticky-taped elements, and by arranging bits of debris on paper, or scraps and rebuses collected while wandering around the city, their works sketch out with poetry and humour the contours of a mental geography, written with four hands.

"Evans deliberately drafts algorithms that elude all applicability, all possibility of exploiting its collections of information. He has recently begun to work abstractly, using abundant found papers that pull together into large landscape-like images ( Big Ghost, The Skin of the Earth is a Blue Blouse ...) and one may read this conceptual arrival at a nearly empty map alongside Guy Debord’s so aptly formulated 1959 insight that "Every game takes place within the boundaries of its own spatial domain". Or as Evans himself puts it: "A parody of a power trip is still a power trip. I was putting a daisy in the barrel of the rifle and now I’m walking away. I am going towards the field where the daisies are" 3

1 Jacob Fabrius, « Simon Evans and Sarah Lannan in conversation with Jacob Fabrius», in Simon Evans , monograph published by Kerber Verlag (Berlin), 2014

2 Anders Kold, «Some Kind of Truth», in Simon Evans , monograph published by Kerber Verlag (Berlin), 2014

3 Elodie Evers, «Toward Where the Daisies Are», in Simon Evans , monograph published by Kerber Verlag (Berlin), 2014

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