13th April 2016
Samuel Levi Jones
The Arts Club is pleased to announce an exhibition of new and recent work by award-winning artist Samuel Levi Jones, who will be present for the opening. Jones was recently the subject of a solo exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem, and his work is prominent in public collections including SF MOMA and LACMA.
Jones' practice centres on the interrogation of institutional knowledge and the creation - and destruction - of the power structures it represents. To create his large, abstract compositions, Jones tears off the covers and spines, which he refers to as 'skins', of encyclopaedias and legal texts and mounts them on canvas; a deconstructive process he has described as 'cathartic'. The artist's choice to remove all of the pages of the books is a reflection of his interest not with the information that was included in the text, but rather, as he explains: 'I am ultimately thinking about information that is selectively left out.' For the artist, ostensibly factual books in fact represent a selective memory which has been institutionalised.
Throughout his work Jones engages with recent issues of social inequality which are at the forefront of debate in America, and worldwide. In a new work constructed from law texts presented at The Arts Club, he reflects on the wave of police brutality towards African Americans; questioning if justice is intended for all or just for the privileged few. In other works in the exhibition, Jones once again tears apart encyclopaedias to undermine their authority and to reveal historical omissions within their pages.
Jones' questioning of textual sources within the setting of The Arts Club traces a line with the literary history of the Club, which in the course of its existence has included amongst its members writers such as Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins and Thomas Hughes.