15 April–12 May, 2013
Opening reception on 14 April, 2013, 5-7pm
Pearl Lam Galleries, 181 Middle Jiangxi Road, G/F, Shanghai, China 200002
SHANGHAI—Pearl Lam Galleries will present the first ever exhibition of British artist Michael
Wilkinson’s work in China. En Attendant will present over 20 works including new large-scale
collages and important sculptures and canvases from the recent Dresden series. The
exhibition will run 15 April–12 May, 2013 at Pearl Lam Galleries in Shanghai.
Wilkinson’s work is characterised by subtly layered collages, which draw from a variety of
cultural references such as pop culture, political and art history, punk rock and anarchism. The
artist uses materials including found photographs from the 19th and 20th centuries,
blackboard paint, beeswax, audio and VHS tape, vinyl records, cellophane and etched mirrors.
The centerpiece of the exhibition, En Attendant (2013), is an almost life-size black and white
print of a horse-drawn carriage, blown up to over 5m wide from a small detail of a 19th century
photograph of the Hôtel de Ville, Paris, in ruins after the suppression of the Commune in 1871.
In the foreground, the horse and carriage remain motionless, whilst the figures surrounding it
have been rendered ghost-like due to the long exposure.
Paris features in a number of other works on show, from the 19th century into modern day.
One series of etched mirrors uses the faces of onlookers during a clash with riot police in May
1968, contrasted against atmospheric newspaper cuttings from the same period showing an
armoured car on a motorway at night, or smiling policemen holding up a tattered red flag.
This new series focusing on Paris is displayed alongside important collages from Wilkinson’s
recent Dresden series (2012). The Dresden works reference the ‘Seditionaries’ clothing shop
which operated during the 1970s punk rock era, run by renowned British fashion designers
Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, which used photographs of bombed out Dresden
during the Second World War for wallpaper. Historians have described the shelling of Dresden
as one of the most controversial attacks by the British military during World War II—a
metaphor for the punk aesthetic, the end of the Establishment and of seemingly cultured
Wilkinson’s Dresden series focuses on his hometown of Liverpool—large-scale mirrors etched
with images appropriated from old photographs showing the effects of heavy bombing during
World War II. By using ‘Dresden’ as the title of the series, the artist uses the city as a metaphor
for other locations across Europe united by destruction, whilst referencing the 1970s punk era.
Large-scale sculptures will punctuate the collages installed throughout the gallery. Audio and
VHS tape hang in clumps from the ceiling and vinyl records lie stacked in towers. By displaying
the means by which we record and re-experience past events through recorded imagery,
sound, popular music or films, Wilkinson examines collective cultural history and questions
the way in which we attempt to record and re-experience it.
This major solo exhibition of Michael Wilkinson’s work in China represents Pearl Lam Galleries’
mission to stimulate cross-cultural dialogue between Asia and the West, bringing important
European and American artists to China whilst promoting the work of emerging and
established Asian artists across the gallery’s three exhibition spaces.
About Michael Wilkinson
Michael Wilkinson (b. 1965, Merseyside, UK) currently lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland.
His solo exhibitions include No History (2012) at Blum & Poe, LA; Never Works (2011) at Le
Temple, Paris; Lions After Slumber (2009) at The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd; and
Wrong Gallery (2004), New York. Recent group exhibitions include Rubble Stir (2010) at The
Glue Factory, Glasgow; Wayfinders (2006) at 135 Castlebank Street, Glasgow; and All That Is
Solid Melts Into Air (2004) at FRAC des Pays de la Loire, Carquefou. His book 1979– was
published in 2012 by Blackdog Publishing, London.
About Pearl Lam Galleries
Founded by Pearl Lam, the Galleries' mission is to stimulate cross-cultural dialogue and
cultural exchange between East and West by establishing distinct and rigorous programming
in each of its gallery spaces in Hong Kong, Shanghai and the forthcoming Singapore gallery.
Pearl Lam Galleries is dedicated to championing Chinese artists who re-evaluate the
philosophy and perception of Chinese contemporary art, whilst also committed to presenting
major exhibitions by international artists. Jim Lambie, Jenny Holzer, Yinka Shonibare and Zhu
Jinshi are among the line-up of artists who will have solo exhibitions at the Galleries in 2013.
Pearl Lam Design shows works by established and emerging international designers including
André Dubreuil, Maarten Baas, Mattia Bonetti, and Studio Makkink & Bey. They are invited to
push the boundaries of traditional Chinese art and craft techniques and create new works that
reflect their experiences in China.