Central to all of Tim Ellis’ art is the idea that “a being has a primeval desire to want to belong to something greater than oneself.” This desire to belong manifests itself in both production and consumption of cultural artifacts. By researching, collecting and juxtaposing culturally diverse objects from once active societies, and by subtly reconfiguring their forms or abstracting from pre-existing designs, Ellis have built a collection of artifacts that appear as ready-made totems we have erected for ourselves.
From Chinoiserie pottery, Viking shields, alchemical orbs to all sorts of real and fake relics, the characteristics of the objects vary, some suggesting a harmless brotherhood, others more weighted with specific financial and political objectives. By assembling them in accordance with the various tiers of an imagined social structure, Ellis is able to conjure up the notions of clandestine rites, converted knowledge and membership exclusivity, offering a glimpse of the mechanisms of social order.
Whether displayed singularly or grouped in an installation the strategies employed in staging the works allow them to appear as ready-mades. The harmonious interaction between surface, object and display only serve to heighten the illusion. By weaving together historical facts and invention in this seamless manner, Ellis is really probing into the perceptions of symbolism and artifice versus artifact.
Born in Chester in 1981, Tim Ellis now lives and works in London. He studied at Liverpool John Moores 2000-2003 and the Royal Academy Schools 2006-2009. His Solo exhibitions include ‘In The Company We Trust’ Horatio Jr, London 2012, ‘Sons of Pioneers’ Furini Contemporary, Rome Italy 2011, ‘The Tourist’ Spacex Exeter England 2011 and ‘A Foundation for Exchange’ Primopiano Lugano Switzerland 2010. Selected Group exhibitions include ‘Secret Societies’ The Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany, the CAPC, Bordeaux, France 2011-12, ‘Friendship of the Peoples’ Simon Oldfield Gallery London 2011, ‘Newspeak - British Art Now’ Saatchi Gallery London 2010, John Moores Painting Prize 26', The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool 2010, ‘Tag 3 to 36 New London Painting’ Brown Gallery London 2010 and ‘New Sensations’ The A foundation London 2009. He was an Artist in Residence at The Glenfiddich Distillery in 2011 and was awarded funding to curate ‘Forward Thinking’ touring group show 2012. His work is held in many public and private collections in Europe and America including The Saatchi Gallery.