Simeon Barclay in conversation with Adam Carr

7 November 2019 

Simeon Barclay in conversation with Adam Carr

Thursday 7 November 6.30pm

Workplace Foundation

The Old Post Office

19-21 West Street





Artist Simeon Barclay will discuss his current exhibition at Workplace Foundation and his practice with curator and writer Adam Carr at Workplace Foundation, Gateshead.


 Simeon’s first institutional solo exhibition in the North East of England, at Workplace Foundation, Gateshead, presents a new body of work informed by research into dance. From the visual spectacle of contemporary dance theatre to the communal experience of the night club dance floor, the exhibition Bus2move combines costume, film and video, photography, lighting and sound. Barclay's interest in dance and its many facets centres on the construction of masculinity, with particular focus on the way popular perceptions and stereotypes become defined, contested and encoded upon the male body.


Barclay undertook a research residency at the internationally renowned Phoenix Dance Theatre based in Leeds to inform the creation of new artwork for the exhibition. Focusing on choreography; sound design; costume; lighting and stage design, this research informed a series of new installations which continue Barclay's ongoing interest with the complexity of subjectivity and how these states of consciousness are refracted through race, class and received notions of identity.


About Simeon Barclay

Simeon Barclay is interested in how we construct and perform our identity. Drawing on advertisements, magazines, television and music, he combines images of culturally significant moments and figures with his personal memories to understand how we define and situate ourselves within society. Barclay uses references from popular culture from his time growing up in the north of England to explore masculine and feminine roles and the expectations of society. Images of footballers, actresses and objects such as a car illustrate how we perform gender. Barclay blurs fiction and reality by adapting a scene from the television drama Boys from the Blackstuff, which refers to class, masculinity and unemployment in 1980s Britain, and collaged images of characters from Viz comic’s The Fat Slags and gymnast Haruhiro Yamashita. 

Argentinian footballer Diego Maradona scoring the ‘hand of God’ goal at a time of strong nationalism in England after the Falklands War, Liverpool’s first black footballer Howard Gayle, and a reference to the use by Margaret Thatcher of the word ‘swamped’ to describe immigration all allude to conflicts surrounding the shaping of British culture and identity. The use of slick, industrial materials reflects Barclay’s time working in industry as well as the aspirational lifestyle presented in fashion magazines. Video clips of Calvin Klein advertisements and a filmed performance by American artist Martha Rosler further deconstruct the power of images, their ability to seduce and provoke, and their intrinsic link to consumption. 

Simeon Barclay was born in Huddersfield, UK in 1975. He lives and works in Leeds.

Following a 1st Class Honours in Fine Art from Leeds Metropolitan University and a PG Diploma in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, Simeon Barclay graduated in 2014 with an MFA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College, University of London 

Recent solo exhibitions include The Hero Wears Clay Shoes, Tate Britain, London (2017); Man’s Not Ready, STCTHOTS, Leeds, UK (2015); Where Did It All Go Wrong, Dam Projects, London, UK (2015). Group exhibitions include True Players, W139, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2015); The Feast Wagon, The Tetley, Leeds, UK (2015); A British Art Show, Meyohas, New York, USA (2015). 

About Adam Carr

Adam Carr currently holds a number of guest curatorial positions worldwide. He is preparing 'POST-IT: COLOMBIA', an exhibition opening in Bogota, Colombia in September 2019 coinciding with ArtBo; a solo exhibition of the work of Ryan Gander opening 2020 in Porto and an exhibition for Collecteurs, New York. Together with Jens Hoffmann and Adriana Martinez he has founded Espacio Mango, a new gallery space and exhibition programme in Bogota, Colombia which opened September 2019. In addition, in a newly formed position as Artistic Director he is developing an exhibition programme for ERL at Liverpool John Moores University, scheduled to open in July 2020. 


Since 2017 he has been an advisor for Art Brussels where he sits on the International Advisory Board. In addition, he is a contributing editor to Mousse Magazine and CURA., and has recently been appointed contributing editor of Collecteurs, New York for whom he will also serve as an advisor for curatorial and editorial content. He is also on the editorial board of The Exhibitionist, together with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Maria Lind, Massimiliano Gioni, Jessica Morgan and Fernanda Brenner. 

From 2012 to 2017 he was Head of Exhibitions / Curator at MOSTYN I Wales (UK), Wales' largest contemporary visual arts centre. From 2006 to 2007 he was Adjunct Curator at Kadist Art Foundation, Paris. 

He has curated over 60 exhibitions worldwide to date and as writer, he has had over 200 texts published on art and curatorial practice, contributing to a large number of catalogues and monographs which have been published by ICA London; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Singapore; Renne Collection, Vancouver; Liverpool Biennial; and Gamec, Bergamo among others



Notes to Editors


Miles Thurlow

Co-Founder and Director 


About Workplace Foundation 


Workplace Foundation is a contemporary art organisation based in Gateshead, UK.  

We support emerging and under-represented artists with a commitment to UK art scenes outside of London, with a focus on the North of England.

We are a registered charity, and are core funded by Arts Council England as part of their National Portfolio of Organisations.


 Further information on Simeon’s show at Workplace Foundation can be found here