Return to menu
Ian McKeever: Against Architecture 09 February–19 March 2017 | The Marianne North Paintings (1994-95) 20 October–10 December 1995 | Black and White... or How to Paint with a Hammer 25 October–31 October 1982 | Editions | Publications | Artist’s Website

Ian McKeever | Against Architecture | 09 February–19 March 2017, Thu–Sun 12–6pm | Private View: Sun 05 February, 3–6pm | Matt’s Gallery, 65 Decima Street, London, SE1 4QR

Ian McKeever, Against Architecture, 2016. Image by Phil Crook. Image courtesy of the artist and Matt's Gallery, London.
Press Information
For his fourth exhibition at Matt’s Gallery, Ian McKeever is exhibiting a selection from two recent series, Eagduru and Against Architecture (both 2012-13), which combine painting and photography. Exceptionally, for an artist who emerged in the 1970s within the context of British Conceptual art — a movement which rejected painting — McKeever's early work was characterised by a synthesis of abstract painting and analogue photography, juxtaposed as relative means of articulating an experience of the remote landscapes he would venture into on field trips.

At the end of the 1980s, he abandoned the photographic component from his painting, and it was not until a decade ago, in Hartgrove Photographs (2007–10) — a series of intimate, high-contrast photographs of the interior of McKeever's home in Dorset — that it began to reappear. The works presented here contain similar, interior images. In Eagduru, a photographic print and a canvas are adhered to separate but abutting plywood panels, returning to McKeever's earlier use of the diptych form as a dialectical device. Against Architecture breaks up the panels into puzzles of smaller blocks, and further erodes the decipherability of the images. Gradations of oil stain and photographic grain jar against brilliantly coloured monochrome inserts.

A series of raw plasterboard panels have been erected throughout the gallery, with manufacturer's markings left on the rear. The works are hung on both sides of the temporary walls, as well as on the undecorated walls of the gallery, drawing the viewer through a maze that activates the gallery space. The various, more or less provisional surfaces and planes, on which the works are hung, reflect those of the works themselves. The preposition in the title of the exhibition — Against Architecture — suggests both proximity to its noun and variance with it. A claim to pictoriality is challenged, as much by the atomised formal structures McKeever adopts in the works themselves, as by the makeshift structures he hangs them on. The installation is an exploration of how the fragility of pictorial illusion subsists amid a world of contingencies. In a contemporary visual culture in which images come cheap, the effect is to reestablish our sense of them as fugitive, mysterious and hard-won.

A catalogue titled Eagduru / Against Architecture (2014), published by Galleri Susanne Ottesen, Copenhagen and Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, will accompany the exhibition and will be available for purchase at the gallery. The catalogue features a comprehensive, illustrated presentation of all the exhibited works.

All works courtesy of the artist and Galleri Susanne Ottesen, Copenhagen.

Download Press Release.

Follow event on Facebook

Ian McKeever: Against Architecture at Matt’s Gallery is generously supported by Arts Council England.

Return to top


Born Withernsea, Yorkshire, 1946. Lives and works in Hartgrove, England Selected One-Person Exhibitions 2017 Galleri Andersson/Sandstrom, Stockholm; 2016 Galleri Susanne Ottesen, Copenhagen; 2015 Sonderjylland Kunstmuseum, Tonder; 2014 Horsens Kunstmuseum; Kunst Station Sankt Peter, Cologne; HackelBury Fine Art, London; 2012 Josef Albers Museum, Quadrat, Bottrop; 2010 Royal Academy of Arts, London; 2008 Alan Cristea Gallery, London; 2007 Kunsthallen Brandts, Odense; Morat Institute, Freiburg; 2006 Ny Carlsberg Glypotek, Copenhagen; 2003 Nordic Aquarellmuseum, Skarhamn; 2002 Galerie Stadtpark, Krems; 1995 Haggerty Museum of Art, Milwaukee; Matt’s Gallery, London; 1990 DAAD Galerie, Berlin; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Galerie Tanit, Cologne/ Munich; 1989 Kunstforum, Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich; 1987 Kunstverein Braunschweig; 1986 Nigel Greenwood Gallery, London; Matt’s Gallery, London; 1985 Arnolfini Galleri, Bristol; 1982 Kunsthalle Nuremberg; 1981 Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool and Museum of Modern Art Oxford; 1973 ICA, London. Selected Group Exhibitions 2012 National Museum of Norway, Oslo; 2011 Tate Britain, London; 2005 National Gallery, Beijing and Shanghai Art Museum; 1999 Yale Center for British Art, Newhaven; 1996 Reina Sofia, Madrid and Museo d’Art Contemporarie, Barcelona; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; 1995 Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; 1992 Folkwang Museum, Essen; 1991 Musee des Beaux Arts, Lausanne; 1989 Tate Gallery, Liverpool; 1986 Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt; 1985 Moderna Museet, Stockholm.

Return to top