UPSTONE Soho Launches with Exhibition of New Works by Keith Coventry

Keith Coventry, ‘№7’, 1993–2019, Collage, 50 x 40

UPSTONE Soho will launch tonight at 40 Frith street with an exhibition of new works by the acclaimed British artist Keith Coventry.

The venture is a collaboration between Robert Upstone, formerly the Head of Modern British Art at the Tate, and the artist Graham Snow and the gallery will focus on British art of the Twentieth and Twenty-first centuries.

Keith Coventry, ‘№12’, 1993–2019, 61 x 50.2 cm

Coventry works within a diverse range of media encompassing both painting and sculpture. He combines an interest in social issue and urban depravation with humour and a fascination for history of art. This exhibition of new works by Coventry is comprised of more than twenty collage works which reference and conflate two outdated cultural forms, the ‘Old Comedy’ of Aristophanes combined with modernist, Bauhaus-like abstract compositions which can be seen below.

Keith Coventry, ‘№6’, 1993–2019, Collage, 61 x 50.2 cm

The artist uses lollipop-like sticks that have printed on them phrases of crude humour ridiculing well known people of the time which delighted the people of ancient Athens some time ago. Even today some of the jokes still contain the same excitement and piquancy.

In some of the works, the paper that was used in the collage is over 100 years old which gives the impression that the works are of that time. This unlikely combination of socially concerned humour and simple abstract forms reminds us of the enduring nature of some forms of art.

Keith Coventry, ‘№9’, 1993–2019, Collage, 61 x 50.2 cm

Says Robert Upstone: ‘As a gallery, we’re interested in old and new art, and believe that to make sense of it you have to let it sing together. Keith Coventry, a contemporary artist who responds to and develops prototypes of early constructivist modernism with brilliant dialogues and diverse references, is close to an embodiment of this ethos.’

The exhibition will be on until the 14 December 2019.

40 Frith Street

Freelance journalist covering fine art, photography, film and tech. UK based

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