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Auction House


Friday 21 May – Saturday 5 June. 10:30 – 5pm Fri/Sat or by appointment

Private View Friday 21 May 6-9pm.

Live Auction Saturday 5 June 6-8pm


“Things are not always as they seem; the first appearance deceives many;

the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden.”


The Phaedrus, Plato, c.370 BCE


Auction House is delighted to announce its first post-lockdown exhibition of 2021, Auction House by Cornish based contemporary artist Patrick Lowry.  


Lowry is an artist who revels in confounding our expectations. We approach his work believing it is one thing, only to find it is something else, a rendering of surfaces mimicking materials and objects. He uses the art of illusion to create exact replicas of specific objects, often chosen as symbols of political subterfuge or commercial manipulation; at their core is the message, ‘things are not always what they seem’.


Having mastered the art of rendering one material in another, he uses his extensive research and making skills to expose neoliberal currents in all aspects of life within developed economies. Presenting full-scale replicas of highly valued objects: houses, cars, military drones, selected 20th Century artworks, he asks why these things are valued in society, by whom and for what purpose. 


Previous work Crushing the Tate an installation at BIKINI Espace d'Art Contemporain, Lyon consisted of four-fifths scale replica of one of the floors of the Herzog and De Meuron designed stairs in Tate Modern. For American Dream at the Exchange Penzance in 2013 Lowry presented a full-sized replica of the façade and garden of a 1950s American suburban home complete with a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air, and in Quantative Easing at the Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury consisted of a replica Heidelberg printing press and 'counterfeit' euros. All works with obvious overlaps on commenting on the art ecology, possession, desire, money markets, forgeries, fakes and counterfeits.


Where these works are presented is also critical to understanding their intention. The location drives the research. For Auction House, Lowry has drawn to the building’s original function as a sale room built in 1880.


Through this he reflected on artworks of significance to him since his Foundation studies, selecting ten artists, a piece of whose work he would replicate to form a collection of facsimiles to be sold to the highest bidder. Each piece forms part of the complete work, underpinned by the performative elements of participants in viewing, bidding, selling and owning one tenth of the art work. 


Lowry invites people to step inside the processes driving the international art world, where mind boggling sums of money change hands and artist’s reputations are made or broken. Auction House will give people an opportunity to decide where they fit in this performance. 


They will be able to peruse the sale catalogue and make bids in advance and on the day of the auction, vying with others to own a piece of a Lowry, a collection of replicas of ten 20th Century artists’ work. He hopes bidding will be fierce! 


Money raised through the auction will be shared between two charities, Sight Savers and Water Aid, longstanding organisations he has previously supported.


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