In last year’s Popocultural exhibition at South London Gallery, Simon Periton’s 8 metre tall, fluorescent pink, paper doily gates dominated the room. The intricately patterned gates were a complex soup of graphic references from Christopher Dresser, Aubrey Beardsley, and the Poll Tax riots to the Sex Pistols. The equal measures of delicate handicraft, sophisticated appropriation, and anarchy reinvented the craft of the decorative, polite and somewhat staid doily.
The new doilies in this exhibition include 3-D metallic foil fountains that hang from the ceiling in the form of Chinese lanterns and incorporate images from Gothic German painting. The largest work in the show, a memorial target called Queen Victoria, is cut from the unaltered pattern of a commercially produced doily. By increasing the scale of this object and hanging it directly on the gallery wall, Periton questions the conventional division between decoration and painting.
Simon Periton is also exhibiting in Skinner’s Cage, 56 Turnmill Street, London EC1 from 30 June to 30 July 1997. The installation can be viewed from the street and is best seen after dark. Other work by Periton is included in the exhibition Lovecraft, currently at CCA in Glasgow, and in the British Council Window Gallery in Prague until 1 August 1997.