FOLD is pleased to present S.I.M. by Ian Monroe, his first solo show with the gallery. Well known for his large-scale collages, Monroe’s work creates an active dialogue between painting, sculpture, and more recently architecture. This is his first major solo show in London since 2015.
Using systems of representation such as perspective, schematic drawings, and visualisations of graphic data, the work presents us with a reality that seems logical and familiar. Hanging text and geometric signposts attempt to guide us through the non-places of a virtual 21st Century. Under closer scrutiny however, the objects and forms reveal themselves to be spatially or structurally impossible; booby-trapped perspectives, razor-sharp architectural edges, simulated stainless steel, and networked nodes suggest a much more complicated interface. Sculptures appear to have fallen out of the paintings, and images seem to have been folded into objects.
For S.I.M. an acronym for Subscriber Identity Module, Monroe presents new sculptures and collages that are infected by mathematical parasites, extruding bar graphs, and colonised by pie charts. The work contains various graphic distillations of the ubiquitous SIM and Secure Digital cards that act as channels and repositories for our daily production, communication, and even memories. The suggestion here is that the technological and design revolution that modernism began is still found buried deep within our digital world; the stripe, the colour field, and geometric minimalism have given way to the circuit, the network, and the app icon.
Made from the materials of offices and institutions such as carpet tiles, outsize paperclips, plate glass, sign vinyl and pseudo-ergonomic office equipment, they extend Monroe’s interests in the systems and architectures that our lives are embedded within. For this show, the office worker has been let loose to conjure a series of totems out of the materials and symbols at hand.
Monroe was born in New York in 1972 and currently lives and works in London. Artworks by Monroe are in the permanent collections of major museum collections including the Hamburger Banhof in Berlin, Germany, the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Castilla y Leon, in Leon, SpainSaint Louis Art Museum, USA, The Kemper Art Museum, USA, and the Aarhus Kunstmuseum in Aarhus Denmark.
Monroe has recently completed a permanent public commissioned for St Johns College Oxford and is currently working on a major commission located in Leicester Square in London. He was the recipient of the Freund Fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis, in partnership with the Saint Louis Art Museum where Monroe had his first US solo show.