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Simon Evans

How to be alone when you live with someone

“I’m happy if my works hit something in the viewer, if you can feel the energy I embedded in them. My dad’s hesitant question, ‘What’s it really good for?’ offers some resistance and is a constant guideline for me. Granted, my works have become very personal by now, but they should never be so private or esoteric that they don’t reach out to those who take the trouble to look.” (Simon Evans)

The English artist Simon Evans began his career as a skateboarder before he turned to writing short stories and poetry, although he soon gave this up because he felt that the words themselves became formally independent and took on too much weight. Nevertheless, he remained faithful to his writing as he turned to fine art in the graphic works which he now created. The works in his first exhibition were inspired by reading Jonathan Swift's novel Gulliver's Travels. Like Lemuel Gulliver, Evans sees the world through the eyes of a “stranger in a strange world,” - full of surprise and amazement. Like in Swift's metaphorical tale, Evans regards the world as an island which is mapped, categorized and inventorized in order to draw the outlines of a very private chart.

Evans' works reflect a very personal view of the world, and thus they convey an indirect self-portrait of their author. They are somewhere between concrete poetry and "écriture automatique", between the blackboard teaching aesthetics of the early 20th century and the digital schematization of the early 21st century, constituting individual chapters of a private diary, full of irony and absurd humor. “I try to include the outside world in my inner vision” says the artist, who has created a comprehensive psycho-geography in his works which includes frequent references to the various places where he has lived in London, San Francisco, Berlin and most recently New York creating a cartography of emotional horizons ranging between introspection and projection.

© The Artist / Courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York/Shanghai

Evans, a self-taught artist, initially created mainly “notebook drawings”, and then gradually started to embellish them with collage elements, which he often applied with sticky tape, before he eventually moved on to larger formats. He soon extended his artistic range by adding color and new techniques such as embroidery or weaving techniques in paper which give his works a textile and pixelated character. Evans claims various literary, musical and especially artistic sources of inspiration for his work. The work of Paul Klee fascinated him both because of his Mannerist drawing style and because of the often mysteriously poetic titles. His artistic similarity to the highly imaginative and detailed drawings of Öyvind Fahlström is also undeniable. Evans’ works are full of biting humour and tragicomic and disarming honesty, thus calling on the beholder to pay close attention to deciphering his strange and unique universe.

Simon Evans was born in 1972 in London. He lives and works in New York.


  • Marie-Noëlle Farcy