Dexter Dalwood


Esto no me pertenece, solo exhibition at Museo Nacional de Arte, Mexico City

24th September 2021 - 30th January 2022

In a new series inspired by Mexico, Dalwood unites observations from his time spent in the country (whilst on a residency at Casa Wabi, Oaxaca, in late 2017) with his personal brand of ‘contemporary history painting’, which weaves together visual quotations to express a space or a place that is more an abstracted mental image than a representation of the real. The first painting in the series, Wall, 2017, pre-dates the artist’s trip to Mexico. The work makes light reference to Donald Trump’s proposed border-wall between the United States and neighbouring Mexico.

Several of the paintings in this series are inspired by a scene from Alonso Ruizpalacios’s black-and-white film, Güeros from 2014. Set in Mexico City amid the student unrest of 1999, it features a protest scene on the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) campus against a background of a mural by David Alfaro Siqueiros, an artist associated with the Mexican Muralism movement. The mural depicts an imposing three-dimensional arm emerging from the wall. Several hands, one with a pencil, charge towards a book which lists critical dates in Mexico’s history: 1520 (the Conquest by Spain); 1810 (Independence from Spain); 1857 (the Liberal Constitution which established individual rights); and 1910 (the start of the Revolution against the regime of Porfirio Díaz). The final date is blank, inspiring viewers to create Mexico’s next great historic moment.

Dalwood’s fascination with history painting and his contemporary rendering of the genre announces itself in works that refer to the historical landmarks pinpointed in the mural, as well as to pre-Columbian depictions of Mesoamerican Mexico before its Spanish conquest. At the same time, Edouard Manet’s fragmented The Execution of Maximilian, c. 1867-1868, looms large in the artist’s mind, something that is reflected in the cut-and-paste collage effect of paintings in the series. During the residency Dalwood collaborated with local schoolchildren on a large-scale mural that dealt with their interpretation of their own social and political history. This illustrated history of Mexico tackles issues of nationality in relation to artistic responsibility. Dalwood is interested in what right he has, as a British painter, to confront Mexican subject matter, while acknowledging the importance of an impartial viewpoint in constructing narrative.

Emblematic works by artists like Petronilo Monroy, José María Velasco, Francisco Goitia, Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco make the exhibition into an invitation to rethink Mexican history.

2059, solo exhibition at Simon Lee Gallery, Hong Kong

10th September - 30th October 2021

Simon Lee Gallery presents a series of new paintings by British artist Dexter Dalwood on the occasion of his second exhibition at the Hong Kong space.

In these recent works, Dalwood looks nearly four decades into the future, to the year 2059; something that the title of each painting in the exhibition makes reference to. In spite of this nominative forward-looking approach, the artist resumes his longstanding commitment to the construction and interpretation of history in painting: each work is composed out of a network of interrelated references and sources from across the annals of art, politics, literature, as well as Dalwood’s own biography. The mix of brutalism and elegance, the old and the new depicted in this latest series creates visual paradoxes that echo a version of the future that simultaneously reflects on the present.

Although Dalwood’s lexicon remains deeply embedded in the history painting genre, these new works dispense with diagrammatic attitudes towards pictorial space, instead bringing together various, often disparate, elements. Ultimately, Dalwood prioritises the overall consonance of the painting over any preconceived notion of composition, sacrificing linear perspective in the pursuit of an overall approach to painting as object that takes negative space, the edge of the canvas and the temperament of the paint – amongst other elements – into account.

Nonetheless, Dalwood continues to allude to the art-historical canon: each work is similar in scale to Jean-Siméon Chardin’s The House of Cards,offering compositional references both to this painting and Cezanne’s The Card Players. Appearing throughout the series is a circular motif that materialises in astronomical configurations of planets, or as in 2059 (portal),a classical still life fruit bowl. From Giotto’s perfect, free-hand O to a symbolic link between heaven and earth, the circle in art history conjures a myriad of associations. Painted over the course of the past year, Dalwood communicates with this imagery something of the insularity of life and the circularity of existence.

Collages 1999–2011, solo exhibition at Simon Lee Gallery, Hong Kong

12th April - 8th May 2021

Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of Dexter Dalwood’s collage studies. These works have only been shown once previously in the UK as part of Dalwood’s 2010 exhibition at Tate St. Ives, which later travelled to FRAC Champagne – Ardenne and CAC Malaga.

Although created between 1999 and 2011, Dalwood’s collages feel relevant to the present moment in time. Presenting a series of unpeopled, interior scenes, they speak to the supremacy of the domestic realm at a time when our homes have become inescapable, often claustrophobic, territory. Yet these small-scale works intimate a life beyond four walls; indeed, the fourth wall opens to the viewer, offering a voyeuristic glimpse into an empty interior that reveals its occupant by composition – and on occasion, title – only.

For Dalwood, his collages existed as exercises in composition. In their subsequent translation to large-scale canvases, he preserved their sharp edges and disjoined aesthetic, resulting in a jarring sense of perspective and proportion that disorients the viewer. In asking his audience to absorb multiple images at once, Dalwood slows down the act of consumption, deconstructing canonical thinking and existing systems of belief, both subjective and collective. In this way, his collages are both symbols representative of his artistic process and his patchwork approach to the inconsistencies of memory.

What is Really Happening, solo exhibition at Simon Lee Gallery, London

1st - 30th March 2019

Simon Lee Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Dexter Dalwood, his second to be held in the London gallery.

‘In this modern world where everything plays out fast and it plays out in the open at incredible speeds and just when it seems like we are all in on it and interconnected….’

― NBC news anchor intro.

Dalwood’s paintings celebrate and interrogate the history of the medium. They demonstrate an awareness of the continued significance of painting as a means of communicating the ways in which we experience our everyday existence. He crafts narratives of memory that bring together the past, present and future in a single image, forging a bridge between our interpretation of what has already come to pass and that which has yet to happen.

‘Dexter Dalwood’s new paintings depict a potent mix of atmosphere and incident, aloneness and portent. They portray situations as psychological events, describing journeys, transit and locations as though from an existential perspective. Their vision is stark, questioning, detached; their visceral sense of time and place akin to that of the modern traveller, who is at once insulated and stateless, dispassionate yet vulnerable. Randomness and stasis define the mood. Colour, form and composition are tensed, intent, describing the pores of consciousness opened. Poetry and volatility preside; the dimensions of heightened instants are transcribed in the medium of painting’.

― Michael Bracewell, writer, 2018.

To coincide with the exhibition there will be a catalogue designed by Dostoyevsky Wannabe.

Michael Jackson: On the Wall, National Portrait Gallery, London

27th June - 21st October 2018

This landmark exhibition explores the influence of Michael Jackson on some of the leading names in contemporary art, spanning several generations of artists across all media. Curated by Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, our summer exhibition has opened to coincide with what would have been Michael Jackson’s 60th birthday (on 29 August 2018).

Michael Jackson is one of the most influential cultural figures to come out of the 20th century and his legacy continues into the 21st century. His significance is widely acknowledged when it comes to music, music videos, dance, choreography and fashion, but his considerable influence on contemporary art is an untold story. Since Andy Warhol first used his image in 1982, Jackson has become the most depicted cultural figure in visual art by an extraordinary array of leading contemporary artists. For the first time, Michael Jackson: On the Wall brings together the works of over forty of these artists, drawn from public and private collections around the world, including new works made especially for the exhibition.

Hello World: Revisioning a Collection, Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin

28th April – 26th August 2018

The Hamburger Bahnhof exhibits the most important collection of contemporary art in Berlin, with works by Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys and many other innovative contemporary artists. The former train station – the only remaining terminal station in Berlin – was built from 1846–47; the building was badly damaged in the war and only began to be used as an exhibition site in the 1980s. After extensive restoration work, the Hamburger Bahnhof was reopened as the Museum for the Present in 1996. The historical elements of the building, combined with modern architecture, make it the ideal location to exhibit the modern art collection, which makes use of many different media. An exhibition area of 10,000 square meters is dedicated to art from the second half of the twentieth century. The basis is the Marx private collection, with works by Andy Warhol, Cy Tombly, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Anselm Kiefer and Joseph Beuys. The whole of the western memorial wing is dedicated to the work of Beuys and includes some famous installations. There are also examples of the work of the Italian Transavanguardia and minimal art.


New Pleasure, Simon Lee Gallery New York

1st November - 23rd December 2017

The advent of the home studio in the 1970’s democratized both music and art, with cities like New York becoming significant platforms for the convergence of both practices. Partially due to financial instability brought on by urban decay and political neglect, artists embraced a do-it-yourself mentality which inevitably led to interdisciplinary experimentation. Although this time period was marked by metropolitan downturn, the phenomenal successes of these new wave forms of art making led to their ironic commercialization. Through a diverse group of artists and media, New Pleasure showcases the intersection of music and art after punk rock and investigates how artists have taken direct influence from musicians, have participated within either genre, or have performed as musicians themselves.

Exhibition includes work by: Merlin Carpenter, Henri Chopin, George Condo, Dexter Dalwood, Latifa Echakhch, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Kim Gordon, Hilary Lloyd, Claudio Parmiggiani, Steven Parrino, Richard Prince, Matana Roberts, Alan Vega and Christopher Wool.


Ein Brief, Galerie Hubert Winter, Vienna, Austria
New Paintings by Dexter Dalwood, curated by Michael Bracewell

15th September - 14th October 2017

The exhibition takes place in the context of curated by_vienna: “image/reads/text. Language in Contemporary Art”.

“… it is as if my body consisted entirely of coded messages revealing everything to me. Or as if we could enter into a new, momentous relationship with all existence if we began to think with our hearts."
(Hugo von Hofmansthal)

This exhibition responds to the celebrated prose work by the Viennese writer Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Ein Brief (1902) known in English as The Lord Chandos Letter. In homage to the mood, enigma and emotional acuity of Hofmannsthal’s story, Michael Bracewell is curating a solo presentation of new and recent paintings by the British artist Dexter Dalwood under the title Ein Brief.


True Faith, Manchester Art Gallery, UK

Friday 30 June 2017–Sunday 3 September 2017

True Faith explores the ongoing significance and legacy of New Order and Joy Division through the wealth of visual art their music has inspired. Curated by Matthew Higgs, Director of White Columns, New York and author and film-maker Jon Savage with archivist Johan Kugelberg, True Faith is centred on four decades’ worth of extraordinary contemporary works from artists including Julian Schnabel, Jeremy Deller, Liam Gillick, Mark Leckey, Glenn Brown and Slater Bradley, all directly inspired by the two groups.


The Painting Show, Goyang Aramnuri Aram Art Gallery, Korea

4 July-24 September 2017

As part of the UK/Korea 2017–18, Goyang Aramnuri Aram Art Gallery and the British Council present The Painting Show, an exhibition of contemporary paintings by 15 British artists, many which are drawn from the British Council Collection, and eight Korean artists. The artists from the UK and Korean demonstrate the richness and vigour of contemporary painting and how it can reflect political, religious and social aspects of everyday life and the rise of digital.


Residency, Fundación Casa Wabi, Oaxaca, Mexico

September-November 2017

Fundación Casa Wabi is a non-profit, civil organization that aims to promote collaboration and social commitment through art. Created in 2014 by Mexican artist Bosco Sodi, the foundation adopts its name from the concept "Wabi-Sabi," which represents a vision of the world focused on the acceptance of the ephemeral and the imperfect. Based on this philosophy, Casa Wabi, located on the Oaxacan coast, was designed by the renowned architect Tadao Ando (Pritzker 1995), looking to generate a space conducive to interaction; where our residents and the communities of the region come together.The Foundation currently operates two residency programs, Casa Wabi in Oaxaca and Casa Nano in Tokyo, two exhibition spaces, one in Casa Wabi and another in Santa María, a venue in Mexico City.

Look Me In The Eye Sister, Galeria Leyendecker, Tenerife

Open 2nd August 2017

Group exhibition with work by James English Leary, Angel Otero, Kysa Johnson, Patrick Hamilton, Martin Kippenberger, Rhys Coren, G.T.Pellizzi, Dexter Dalwood, Anna Bjerger, Marita Fraser

An Avro Lancaster on the night of 30/31 January 1943. © Crown Copyright: IWMMelancholia – a Sebald variation,  Inigo Rooms, King's College London, Somerset House East Wing 

21 September – 10 December 2017

An exhibition curated by John-Paul Stonard and Lara Feigel.

Albrecht Dürer’s 1514 engraving 'Melencolia I' remains one of the foundational images of European art. The winged figure of genius slouches despondently; the hourglass shows time hastening to its end. Five centuries later, this became the mood of that archetypal melancholy European, W G Sebald. There is the rootlessness of exile and displacement in The Emigrants; the disappearance of old Europe in Austerlitz; the ruins of the bombed cities in On the Natural History of Destruction. 

Alongside Dürer's 'Melencolia I' this exhibition will display works from a wide range of international artists, including Dexter Dalwood, Tacita Dean, Susan Hiller, Tess Jaray, Anselm Kiefer, George Shaw, Guido van der Werve, and Jeremy Wood, as well as archival materials and a film of Sebald in discussion with Susan Sontag.

Age of Terror - Imperial War Museum, London, UK

26 October 2017 - 28 May 2018

The UK’s first major exhibition of artists’ responses to war and conflict since the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001. Age of Terror: Art Since 9/11 will feature more than 40 British and international artists, including Ai Weiwei, Grayson Perry, Gerhard Richter, Jenny Holzer, Mona Hatoum, Alfredo Jaar, Coco Fusco and Jake & Dinos Chapman.

Through 50 works of art including film, sculpture, painting, installations, photography and prints, many of which will be exhibited publically in the UK for the first time, this exhibition highlights the crucial role of artists in representing contemporary conflict.
The Critic as Artist, Reading Museum, Reading, UK

7 October 2017 to 28 January 2018

Curated by Michael Bracewell and Andrew Hunt

Including work by Miles Aldridge, Stephen Buckley, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Lucienne Cole, Dexter Dalwood, Kaye Donachie, Donna Huddleston, Travis Jeppesen, Gareth Jones, Scott King, Linder, Bertie Marshall, Malcolm Mclaren, Katrina Palmer, Alessandro Raho, Simeon Soloman, and Cally Spooner.

‘The Critic as Artist’ is an exhibition at Reading Museum about and for the Irish writer and dramatist Oscar Wilde, who had been a visitor to Reading prior to his imprisonment at Reading Gaol, and whose ideas and legend remain startlingly contemporary.