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March 5–8, 2020   Piers 90 and 94

Charlie Billingham

A Night at the Opera

2020
Presented by Morán Morán
Location: East End
Pier 94
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Curator's Statement

Charlie Billingham’s new installation is comprised of stenciled wall paintings with several figurative paintings hung on top. In the tradition of William Hogarth and other great British satirists, Billingham’s work recalls satirical prints of the late 18th- and early 19th-century that skewered patrician society and corrupt politicians. Dressed in the coattails, breeches, and bonnets of an earlier era, Billingham’s figures are often crowded together or literally piled on top of one another in scenes of public unrest or upheaval. One painting portrays a congested group of spectators, their corpulent pink fleshy faces jeering at an unknown subject. Another portrays a large man carrying several bodies out of a crowded room, as if taking out the trash. Billingham’s resplendent color and graphic detail serve to exaggerate and amplify the messages of his narratives, quoting the long history of social satire in England while emphasizing the need for these powerful yet humorous forms of critique in today’s divisive atmosphere.

About the Artist

Charlie Billingham (b. 1984, London, UK) lives and works in London, UK. He completed his joint honors MA at the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh College of Art in 2008, and received a postgraduate degree from the Royal Academy Schools, London, in 2013. His work has been included in several group exhibitions, such as Febreeze, at Kinman Gallery, London, UK (2013); New Order: British Art Today, at Saatchi Gallery, London, UK (2013); Clay Pipe, at Galerie HFBK, Hamburg, Germany (2013); Open Heart Surgery, at The Moving Museum, London, UK (2013); Forever Now, Capodimonte Museum, Naples, Italy (2014); and The Word Today Serves No One Except To Say To The Grocer Give Me A Pound Of Lentils, Supportico Lopez, Berlin, Germany (2014). His work is in permanent collections at Saatchi Collection, London, UK; Ramin Salsali Private Museum, Dubai, UAE; Franks-Suss Collection, London, UK; and HSBC Collection, London, UK.