I immediately felt a connection with Stuart Semple’s work the moment as I walked into the Bermondsey Project Space. Perhaps it was the strong and vivid imagery and text combined with the bold use of neon colours I saw in the gallery that instinctively captivated to my attention. I couldn’t put my finger on it but I knew that there was a deeper meaning to all the visuals so I had to find out. The show comprises is a curated selection of works. Some of the work had happy feeling to it, while some was a bit more gloomy and some I discovered was controversial like the pink finger image, a reference to the ‘Kapoor Art War’. As I walked to the floor upstairs I sat down on the cuddly toys bench and watched a selection of TV news clips explaining his work. In general I had the impression that Semple’s work was about reaching out to people and touching them in a particular way to create more positivity in the world like when he created Happy Clouds.
Curator Lee Cavaliere says:
“Stuart Semple’s work straddles the line between art and activism. A champion of causes from mental health to social justice to homelessness to copyright law, his work draws on personal trauma to challenge, help and speak to our society and its deficiencies.”
As I walked around the gallery I noticed the neon coloured stripes on the floor leading people to different areas floors of the gallery. I had the chance to catch up with Semple in the hallway and ask him a few questions.
So here is a very short interview:
So what is this show about?
It’s an exhibition of 20 years of my things that my friend and curator Lee has put together which was based and tells the story of some of my life and some of the things I’m interested in.
How was did you choose the best of the 20 years
I didn’t I got Lee to do it because there is no way I could have done it
So he knows you well?
He knows me well and he knows the work well and he knows me well enough to let me trust him with the work
Well congratulations, I think my favourite room the upstairs room
Thank you yea that is the latest stuff so that is when I am looking out at the world rather than in at myself…
Could you briefly describe the downstairs room?
So the downstairs floor deals with more the deeper psychology of things the darker stuff…
The ground floor is more like a museum it deals with mortality it look more like a hospital we put with the lines of tape on the on the floor but if feels more museum more like a standard gallery type of experience. And then the top floor deals with the public and wider issues of happiness and community.
I like the lines, I like the neon… I’m very into the colours so congratulations again.
Thank you for coming.
‘Dancing on My Own: Selected Works 1999 – 2019’. Curated by Lee Cavaliere, Bermondesy Project Space, 9 August – 7 September 2019.