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MOT - Karl Lydon

Unit 54/5th floor Regents Studios
8 Andrews Road London E8 4QN
t +44 (0)7931 305 104

Open Fri, Sat, Sun 12-5 or by appointment

Bethnal Green Underground Bus 394,106,253,26,48,55,D6, D3, 8

Karl Lydon 23rd May - 20th June 2003
Private View Thursday 22nd may 6-9pm

A bearded man stands in the London section of the Century City exhibition at Tate Modern. He has a vaguely comic expression on his face, somewhere between mild amusement and surprise. He is pointing to a large text piece that is part of Peter Lewis’s Big Blue. The text reads, “THIS IS THE LAST TIME I SHALL BE SHOWING MY WORK BECAUSE TO BE HONEST I WASN’T TAKING IT SERIOSLY AND NEVER WILL BECAUSE MY FIRST LOVE IS SKATEBOARDING.” The man is Karl Lydon and the text is his work.

Karl Lydon is the reluctant artist in constant denial while at the same time never quite able to say never again. Championed by Peter Lewis and now ourselves he just can’t stop having ideas. Karl Lydon has no formal art education, yet he has spent a whole lifetime looking at art, having worked at many of London’s major galleries installing exhibitions. Driven by a fascination with art from an early age Karl,nevertheless did not feel compelled to go to art college. This seems to have been a good decision on his behalf, as far from being naive, his work is highly original and lacks the heavily mannered efforts infecting many of today's graduates’ work. As an autodidact Lydon is far closer to genius than any of his institutionally taught contemporaries are ever likely to be, which brings us back to skate boarding.

Up until now Karl Lydon has only made work when requested by the artist/curator Peter Lewis, to be shown alongside other artists, a collaboration or a work within a work. When we saw Karl’s most recent project within Peter lewis’s exhibition, Concrete, at Cell, we were struck by how self contained this small project was. Left over 3 consisted of a chair made out of art shipping cases (a reinterpretation of the Dutch architect Rietveld’s crate chairs), detailed instructions for the assembly of crate furniture and an audio CD of Karl playing various cover versions on an accordion. Instantly we thought that it would be interesting to offer Karl his first solo exhibition and we asked him for a proposal for what he might do at MOT, which brings us back to skate boarding.

When we met up with Karl to discuss the exhibition he told us that he had been collecting party poppers since the millennium and had always wondered what it would be like to let 250 of them off at the same time. We were and remain intrigued. How would this piece manifest itself? The potential is exhilarating, which brings us back to skate boarding.

What has happened to Karl Lydon’s first love? To be honest it never went away, its just amalgamated into his working practice, which he is mastering with the same gritted determination as riding a half pipe, while making it all look so effortless. and as for taking art seriously, yeh right as if.

So visit MOT and witness a pregnant BIG BANG and the evolution of the unwilling artist who would rather be out on his skateboard.


STEALTH 27th June - 26th July
Anna Barham, Steve Colson, Tony Peakall, Julian Wild

SCRAMBLED 1st - 29th August
Simone Brinkmann, Maria Fusco, Melanie Stidolph


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