MEL BOCHNER: EXASPERATIONS | London, Simon Lee Gallery

Bochner’s inclusion in the 2018 Carnegie International gave rise to a new body of work that combined his signature textual interventions with a largely monochrome palette. The site-specific series included “Do I have to draw you a picture?”, “I’ve had it up to here” and “Are you out of your fucking mind?”, all of which have been revisited here, in this micro-exhibition on Berkeley Square.

Repetition plays a major role in Bochner’s work, and he often revisits the same words and phrases, but this new series of word paintings marks a radical departure for the artist. In the 2019 works, Bochner explores the lexicon of the Carnegie International paintings but in a riot of colour, discarding his own strict formal protocol in favour of a liberated approach to form, colour and meaning that more closely resembles his studio painting practice.

Each letter oozes with pigment, drips and smudges escaping the crisp edges of the typeface, thereby emphasising the material expression of their own execution. Meaning is both enhanced and obscured by Bochner’s technique, which invites the viewer to reconsider the ways in which we interpret language and image.

Founded in London’s Mayfair in 2002, Simon Lee Gallery represents artists of diverse generations whose practices range from sculpture and painting to video and photography, and who share a broad interest in an exploration of the conceptual. In addition to the UK, in 2012 the gallery opened a space in Hong Kong, and re-launched a New York space in 2017.

Mel Bochner’s works are on display to the public until 13 July 2019. Admission free.

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