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27 Apr 2010

DJ Simpson at Koraalberg Gallery, Antwerp

DJ Simpson, No title (fragment), 2007

DJ Simpson


30th April - 5th June 2010 Opening Hours:
Wed. - Sat. 14.00 - 18.00

François Verlinden
+32 3 226 06 30
+32 3 248 66 26

Koraalberg Gallery
Pourbusstraat 5
2000 Antwerp

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Koraalberg is proud to present the first solo exhibition of DJ Simpson in the gallery.

Follow the line. Trace the carved line and track the electric-powered carving that has left a fluid spiral, a zip or a zigzag in its wake. Follow the groove that is an empty space, a channel that is a line of air. Take your right index finger and trace a line drawn with electricity. Run your finger through a gouge that cuts deep into the surface. The line has sharp edges but otherwise feels smooth to touch; a cool furrow that runs through the coloured and mirror laminate and the layers of plywood, that streaks the surface like a vapour trail or that curls like a spring around a neighbouring line. Some lines admit only a fingernail and others are two or more fingers in width but all of DJ Simpson's lines cast shadows. Following a line in a work by DJ Simpson is a physical event that registers a relief surface, an event that seems neither a work of sculpture or painting. Some works lean against a wall, the height of a person or two, and others hang flat but all relate to a human scale and the uniform dimensions of industrial materials. The artist's practice has its parallels with industrial practices and processes through the utilisation of an electric router machine and standardized units of wood and laminate. Even colour in DJ Simpson's work can be thought of as industrial; colour is a readymade chosen by the artist. In the work of DJ Simpson, colour is a plastic form, not a pigment applied to the surface of an object but an object that is cut and scarred. The chiselled line in the readymade colour is an actual, concrete and physical detail.

But if DJ Simpson's practice produces neither painting nor sculpture then we can at least agree that it involves drawing. Is the drawing mechanical? After all, the lines are machine made and produced, perhaps, in celebration of a 'hands-off' process. But the drawing is something else. The drawing is a joyful doodling and expressive-looking even. And the scale of this drawing is illusive; in fact, the scale of DJ Simpson's drawing is unsettling. As his line weaves its way around forms and shapes and patterns, abstract figures appear. We sense that the drawing might be actual size but equally a microscopic view or a scaled version or map of some giant composition the artist has discovered or imagined. There is nothing against which to index his compositions and this undecidable quality leaves the scale of the drawing open, creating a virtual dimension to the work.

The carved line unsettles the concrete details of the work in other ways too. Follow the line once more, step back and follow the line again and you will see how the fall of light creates an illusion. Trace the line that slips between appearing as an empty channel and a fat, gloopy line; one minute a groove the next a rounded length of cord spun around itself. Pull the cord tight and instead of producing a corpulent knot the cord will disappear in the air. It is the fall of light registered by the eye that creates this illusion and that makes a negative space a positive object. But keep following the line and another illusion surfaces. The deepest lines seem closest to the surface. The heaviest cut line floats above the lightest of traces. Not only do the concrete details disintegrate before the eye, things seem both exact and amiss, all at the same time. How can this upside down, wrong way round practice be right. The answer is that DJ Simpson's works have the right kind of wrongness.

from David Burrows 'DJ Simpson's virtual lines'

DJ Simpson was born in 1966 in Lancaster and lives and works in London.