Simon Willems
Universal Solutions Incorporated

Exhibition open:
17.1.15 – 8.2.15
Sat. – Sun. 12:00 – 18:00

Private view:
Thursday January 15th 19:00 – 21:00

Universal Solutions Incorporated is designed around a point of collapse. Forming a community of hermit landscapes taken from art history - in which the original occupants have curiously fled– it doubles up as the counter-intuitive backdrop for a programme of corporate team building activities.

In an earlier venture How Not to Disappear Completely, numerous hermits withdrew from their respective artworks in solidarity with Tom Leppard, the ‘Leopard Man of Skye’, a tattooed hermit and former Special Forces officer, who surrendered twenty years of self-imposed exile on the Isle of Skye in order to book himself into a local retirement home. Building on this work, Universal Solutions Incorporated reconfigures the human subject within a corporate stratagem of subsumption and erasure.

Partly inspired by Simon Critchley’s working definition of ‘structured fun’, as it anecdotally unfolds in his 2002 publication On Humour, the contemporary ramifications of selling out to the team and selling out to the self become a paradoxical point of departure. The aim, it appears, is to dissolve such opposites within an inch of each other, exploring their material dissolution: team motivation maximised through the head space of the arch ascetic, reappraising worth and value within the paintballing exploits of a sanitised corporate nihilism.

Simon Willems (b.1971) is a London-based artist and practice-based PhD candidate in Fine Art at the University of Reading. Having graduated from the Painting school at the Royal College of Art in 2000 he has shown widely in both solo and group exhibitions throughout Europe, North America and Asia. These have included, amongst others, solo projects at Torrance Art Museum (Los Angeles), FRAC Auvergne (Clermont-Ferrand, France), Galerie Polaris (Paris), Elaine Levy Project (Brussels), Percymiller Gallery (London), Wallspace (New York) and Mark Moore Gallery (Los Angeles). He has particiapated in numerous group exhibitions at 176 Project Space - Zabludowicz Collection (London), Lion & Lamb Gallery (London), FRAC Haute-Normandie (France), FRAC Auvergne (France), Artothèque de Caen (France), Galerie Forde Espace Contemporain (Geneva), RAID Projects (Los Angeles), Vegas Gallery (London) and Galleri SE (Bergen), amongst others. His work has featured and been reviewed in: Flashart, Art Review, Elephant Magazine, ART US, Le Monde, WOUND, El Pais, LaLibre Belgique and Beautiful Decay. In 2014, Willems was included in the survey painting publication ‘A Brush with the Real – Figurative Painting Today’ (Laurence King Publishing).

More information at

Motivational Pull, 2014