Raphaela Simon: Phantom

17 May-2 Sep 2024
PV 16 May 2024, 6-8pm

Michael Werner Gallery
London W1K 7PZ


(Exhibition runs 17 May through summer- end date tbc)

Michael Werner Gallery, London is pleased to present Phantom, an exhibition of recent paintings and sculptures by Raphaela Simon (b. 1986, Villingen, Germany).

Throughout her career, Simon has sought to capture the ineffable on canvas. Even when painting a seemingly neutral subject, such as an abstract shape or an inanimate object, Simon is looking for the tension or “the hidden power beneath the surface.”

In her recent works, Simon has shifted to painting figures and heads that are subjected to a variety of situations and scenarios. The heads, with their fixed expressions and hollow appearance, are also masks. As a mask, they conceal shame, block madness, and protect the wearer from anger and horror. While they can appear outwardly melancholic, aggressive, or apathetic, they are intended to convey deep emotion. For Simon, they act as a vehicle to give voice to inexpressible needs and suffering.

Phantom, the painting for which the exhibition is named, most clearly illustrates Simon’s intention of making the unseen visible. The face of a spirit appears on the body of the painter and dominates her. Dots flow from the eyes, across the shoulders, and down the arms of the painter, as the painter then tries to capture the spirit on the canvas. 

Raphaela Simon studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich. Solo exhibitions have been held worldwide at Fondazione Giuliani, Rome; Kunsthalle Düsseldorf; Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin and Paris; Hannah Hoffman Gallery, Los Angeles; and Michael Werner Gallery, London. Her most recent public exhibition, Raphaela Simon: Die Nachahmung der Rose, is on view at Oldenburger Kunstverein in Oldenburg until 21 April 2024. Simon lives and works in Berlin.


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