View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
London is a portfolio of eleven prints made by eleven artists based in London. It was commissioned by Charles Booth-Clibborn and published under his imprint, The Paragon Press, London. The images were printed and editioned at Coriander Studio, London. The portfolio was produced in an edition of sixty-five, the first forty of which are portfolio sets and the remainder are the artists' copies. A further fifteen sets were produced for artists and collaborators. Tate's copy is number five in the edition. The title and colophon pages were designed by Phil Baines using his own typeface. The portfolio is contained in a black buckram-covered wooden case bearing the title in yellow. London is the second group portfolio published by The Paragon Press since its inception in 1986. It was conceived as a portable group exhibition containing work by emerging artists of the same generation. There is no particular common theme. Factors linking some of them are studying art at Goldsmiths College, London in the late 80s (where they were taught by Conceptual artist Michael Craig-Martin, born 1941), working with Jay Jopling (who later opened White Cube Gallery in London) and being exhibited at the Saatchi and Karsten Schubert Galleries in London. Booth-Clibborn had already collected work by a number of the participating artists, few of whom had done any printmaking before embarking on the project. Most chose to work with screenprinting, with the exception of Langlands and Bell, whose image is embossed. Screenprinting is ideally suited to reproducing appropriated and photographic images. Its adoption reflects a characteristic use by young British artists (the group to which most of the London artists belong) of objects or images appropriated from everyday life. Individual prints vary in size, the type of paper used and the orientation of the image.
Denis's image, Untitled, is an eight-colour screenprint in landscape orientation on 300gsm Velin Arches paper. It consists of a diagrammatic representation of two buildings made using simple straight lines and areas of monotone colour. The buildings are rectangular blocks, the taller on the left is coloured pink and the shorter on the right is white. Between and above them is a dominating area of sky blue. Each building contains the same rectangular windows, divided in four by a cross and supported by a narrow white strip representing a window ledge. The taller building has a red window and the upper half of a blue window. The smaller, white building has a yellow window. Two flowers in red pots have been drawn, on the window ledge and on the flat roof of the smaller building. One is white and one is blue. The image has the appearance of a geometric, standardised version of a child's drawing. It relates to a series of fifteen paintings Denis was planning at that time. The only two paintings completed were executed in household eggshell paint and depict an interior and an exterior. The print relates to the exterior and differs only slightly in composition from the painting. The print colours were selected at Coriander Studios at the time of printing.
Contemporary British Art in Print: The Publications of Charles Booth-Clibborn and his Imprint The Paragon Press 1986-95, exhibition catalogue, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh 1995, pp.19 and 46-51, reproduced (colour) p.49
Modern Medicine, exhibition catalogue, Building One, London 1990, [pp.13 and 22]
Jeremy Cooper, no FuN without U: the art of Factual Nonsense, London 2000, pp.39-41