From the Library of Dr London
Hales Gallery is pleased to announce Adam Dant's third solo show at the gallery, From the Library of Dr London.
'Personification of place' is given literal form in Dant's new series of drawings. In large pictures of open books, Dant represents how various societies have chosen to discuss, conceive and identify their environment, in human form. This is the first time these works have been displayed.
Dant's personifications are not merely symbolic figures of places; they are formed from the actual features and topography of specific locations. For example, in the title-piece of the exhibition, From The Library of Dr London, London is depicted as a medical diagram of the human digestive tract - the gullet at Whitehall, the rectum at Whitechapel - with various London landmarks corresponding to appropriate internal organs also depicted as integrated into the fabric of London, which are shown as vignettes around the city/body. The image is grotesque, fantastical and quasi-fictional whilst its subject appears strangely familiar in context of everyday London.
Other volumes in this collection of giant tomes hold engravings and charts which display: Paris constructed from the bones of Liberty; several alternative, pendulous versions of Manhattan, and Tokyo's subway system, as a tangled knot of 'Shunga print' style figures. The deliberate visual manipulation of the geography of each place as seen laid down on the scuffed pages of these faux books is as unsettling as it is convincing, the manifestation of the concept of each map as strange as it is familiar.
These new drawings also serve to unite several strands of Dant's previous work which has encompassed the realms of cartography and popular print, visual narrative and visual paradox, and drawing as historical document.
Dant's previous exhibitions and projects have included the depiction of the British relationship with alcohol, a series of huge sepia ink drawings incorporating various 'systems of knowledge' into the fabric of familiar public spaces; more recently the construction of trompe l'oeil painted environments such as The Library of Outlandia in the Scottish Highlands. His five-year pamphleteering project, Donald Parsnips Daily Journal, (1995-2000), is in the collection of both MoMA and Tate.
Adam Dant's work is in numerous public and private collections such as The Arts Council, UK; MoMA, (USA); Tate, (UK); Musee d'Art Contemporain de Lyon, (France); HRH Prince of Wales, (UK); The Museum of London, (UK); Deutsche Bank; UBS; The Government Art Collection, (UK) and the San Diego Museum of Art, (USA).