The artist rose to prominence with sold out shows in London and New York between 2011 and 2016, since then he has taken considerable space to re- examine his practice, focus on personal self-development and critically examine his own work – he returns, triumphantly, with incredible new figurative paintings for Hoxton Gallery.
The exhibition title, The Joy of Being Scene, is deliberately complex and multi-layered. On the surface it may seem to refer to the enjoyment an artist gets from exhibiting work, however in this instance that joy is intensified and born from a burning desire to connect with others. The title also refers to the self-conscious happiness conjured by being a part of something, a member of a ‘scene’, and alludes to the loneliness and isolation Moon currently experiences when feeling like an outsider. The ‘scene’ brought to life in these paintings is an illusion, the figures appear to embrace joyous revelry and party with one another in bacchanalian ecstasy, yet these parties are pure fiction based on wishful daydreams by the artist.
The show is divided into two sections – on the top floor individual figure studies will be displayed, these include iconic works from earlier in Moon’s career that he has revisited, and new pieces created specifically for this show. On the lower ground floor, Moon will display a brand new 10m long canvas work with many figures partying and reclining in a righteous dreamlike party. The work will consume the space, creating an immersive experience for the viewer. The viewer may feel a sense of being part of something, a guest at the painted party, or conversely feel like a voyeur, looking in from outside. The paintings created this year are deliberate investigations into isolation and loneliness, the work presents different ways of actualising these emotions. A lonely nostalgia for a past life of partying emerges to the fore, perhaps particularly relatable in the context of the irreversible social impact of covid.
Moon utilises an unusual mix of source material for these works. He has returned to previous paintings of reclining individuals in London Fields during hot summers, along with similar from parks in New York. Alongside this, he has begun to draw on new source materials because of lockdown including 60s- and 70s-men’s magazines and social media pictures – in many ways his current practice actualises the experience of a lonely voyeur lost in their own imagination. Our anxieties and sense of extreme isolation, especially felt during the lockdowns, manifests before our eyes in these works. The large-scale wrap around 10m canvas becomes almost religious, depicting reclining women from vintage men’s magazines, desexualised, like classical art historical nudes. At the same time, the use of neon paint is essential as a kind of ode to nightlife and sleepless cities that always offer a place of refuge.
Layering and returning to previous work is an essential element of Moon’s work. In his practice, there is an atypical approach to time and the notion of something being finished. He endlessly circles back to old works, ideas, and stylistic features. He paints many layers onto each canvas and constantly
loops back to imagery and concepts in an endless, atemporal investigation. A key work for this exhibition is a reclining man in a grassy green scape, this was originally created during a trip to New York when Moon’s anxiety caused a sensation of facial paralysis. The incident was troubling and inspired he to paint this figure with a half-concealed face. Here, this figure returns in a new context as a cornerstone of a series of new works.
About Chris Moon
Chris Moon is a self-taught contemporary artist from East London. His first London solo exhibitions, Home of 2011 and Reverie of 2012 were met with widespread critical acclaim. Following these, he hosted sold out exhibitions in New York and Los Angeles. Many of his works are included in prestigious private collections and he has a powerful fan base including Hollywood actors Michael Fassbender and Gemma Arterton, and musicians such as Sir Paul McCartney and Ed Sheeran.
In 2018, a critically acclaimed feature-length documentary about Moon, entitled An Artist's Eyes was released. The film was directed by the highly regarded filmmaker Jack Bond, who has made films with Salvador Dali, Jane Arden, Charlotte Rampling and Adam Ant to name but a few. The film was highly praised by press including The Guardian, and screened at independent cinemas all over the UK.
Moon’s work has been featured in Interview Magazine and Flaunt in the USA and Dazed, AnOther and Port Magazine in the UK. This exhibition will be his sixth London solo exhibition. He is currently working on a plethora of exciting projects, including a collaboration with Chanel that will be unveiled in 2022.
Hoxton Gallery has a reputation for emerging artist exhibitions and events in the music and fashion industry. From basement beginnings on Hoxton Street 2009, the gallery has recently moved to a permanent new home, a Brutalist styled bunker, on the Boundary Estate in Shoreditch.
Chris Moon Is Available for Interview
Lisa Baker or Bella Bonner-Evans
Lisa Baker Associates Ltd
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Chris Moon: The Joy of Being Scene 15 - 21 October 2021
Private View 14 October 6-9pm @chrismoonart
17 Marlow Workshops, Arnold Circus, E2 7JN
Nearest Tube: Shoreditch High Street Overground Station or Hoxton Overground Station Open daily 11am – 6pm
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