press release

Kimmerich Gallery is pleased to present “St Just”, Steven Claydon’s fifth solo exhibition at the gallery.

‘Here is St Just. An aggregated mess of incestuous overlay. Scorn dressed as form. Knee deep. Look, piles of trophies and confections hewn from ancient technologies, paralleling histories and toothless fictions. Observe the dowsing rods and Parthian batteries. Herein are the fairy folklorists, jackdaws, magpies! Whole murmuring persuasions of neopagan plot, armoured in the ornate lore of pretence. I can describe them because I’ve seen them. Swollen in rags or shrivelled into hats, wrapped around whirring steam technology, shrouded in the reeking smoke of burning sage and caramel vape. Make a note. They are the kleptomaniacs of massive cosmic misappropriation. Mind-bending malapropism. A self-fulfilling admixture of structural and wishful projection. Very comfy. Detours and mutations.’

In ‘St Just’, Claydon assembles works that address the technological, historical, narrative and mimetic interplay between things and context. His salient concerns include the idea of emergent consciousness and personhood in the non-human realm, the efficacy and veracity of ancient technologies, syncretism as a retort to eclecticism, and the social agency of aggregated material. Overarching these themes is a fascination with the contagious, imitative quality of objects used in rituals – whether sacred or profane.

‘Up to the sun shall go thy heart-ache and thy jaundice: May this person go unscathed and be free of yellow colour! Into the parrots and into the thrush, do we put thy jaundice, and, furthermore, into the yellow wagtail do we put thy jaundice.’

From an ancient Hindu ceremony quoted in James Frazer, ‘The Golden Bough’ (abridged version, 1922), chapter 3.


Steven Claydon (b. 1969) lives and works in St Just and London. Solo and group exhibitions include: Sadie Coles, London, UK, Massimo de Carlo, Milan, IT, Haus der Kunst, Munich, DE, The Common Guild, Glasgow, Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen, NO, The Busan Biennal, Busan, South Korea, Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield, UK, Kunsthalle, Wien, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, FR, ICA, London, UK, Tate Modern, London, UK