Simon Starling (b. 1967)
Short Story, Brief History (1999)
Wilhelm Noack oHG (2006)
Project for a Masquerade (Hiroshima) (2010-11)
Phantom Ride (2013)
In Speculum (2013)
Simon Starling was born in 1967 in Epsom, England. He attended the Maidstone College of Art from 1986 to 1987, Nottingham Trent University from 1987 to 1990, and the Glasgow School of Art from 1990 to 1992. Starling’s works point to connections between the history of Modernism and contemporary globalization. For Le Jardin Suspendu (1998), he crafted a radio-controlled airplane from balsa wood, cut from a tree in Ecuador, and flew it above a Modernist villa in Melbourne, Australia. In Inverted Retrograde Theme, USA (House for a Songbird) (2002), the artist made models of buildings based on housing projects in Puerto Rico designed by the architect Simon Schmiderer in the early 1960s, adapting Schmiderer’s designs according to Arnold Schoenberg’s twelve-tone notational system for Modernist music. Bird in Space (2004), an enormous slab of Romanian steel supported by helium-filled rubber jacks, refers both to the recent history of international steel trade tariffs and to Constantin Brancusi’s 1926 sculpture of the same name, which upon reaching the United States for an exhibition in 1927 sparked a landmark court case on what could be legally defined as art. Starling’s recent works pose charged propositions for both artistic processes and energy consumption. For Tabernas Desert Run (2004), the artist created an electric bicycle on which he traversed the Tabernas desert; the vehicle’s only emission was water, which Starling used to paint a watercolor of a cactus. For Shedboatshed (Mobile Architecture No 2) (2005), Starling utilized the wood from a shed to construct a boat, which he navigated down the Rhine to the Kunstmuseum Basel, where he thereupon disassembled the barge to rebuild a shed. Starling’s recent pieces also extend his sardonic engagement with modern sculpture; for example Infestation Piece (Musselled Moore) (2007–08) is a Henry Moore-like steel figure overrun with erosive barnacles.
Since his first solo exhibition, at the Showroom in London in 1995, Starling has had shows at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm (1998), Camden Arts Centre in London (2000), Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona (2004), Kunstmuseum Basel (2005), Städtischen Kunstmuseum zum Museum Folkwang in Essen (2006), Wiels Centre for Contemporary Art, Brussels (2006 and 2007), and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams (2008), among other venues. His work has also appeared in Manifesta 3 in Ljubljana, Slovenia (2000), Manifesta 4 in Frankfurt am Main (2002), Venice Biennale (2003), Moving Pictures at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (2003), São Paulo Biennial (2004), and Triennial of Photography and Video at the International Center for Photography, New York (2006). In 1999 he received the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists and a Blinky Palermo Stipendium from the Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst in Leipzig, Germany. In 2004 he was short-listed for the Guggenheim Museum’s Hugo Boss Prize and in 2005 won the Turner Prize. He lives and works in Copenhagen.