in London / United Kingdom
27.09.2019 - 16.11.2019 00:00
Nathan Coley - The Future Is Inside Us, It's Not Somewhere Else

Parafin is delighted to announce a new exhibition by acclaimed British artist Nathan Coley (b. 1967, Glasgow). This will be Coley’s second exhibition at the gallery.

Coley takes inspiration for his new project from the 19th-century hand-printed scenic wallpaper “Les Vues de L’Amérique du Nord” (Views of North America), first produced by French printers Zuber & Cie in 1834. This exquisite hand-printed 15 metre-long design offers a panoramic view of a new world, as imagined from the old world of Europe. Still in production today, the wallpaper can be found in grand interiors throughout the world, including the Diplomatic Room of the White House, where it often forms the backdrop for important televised addresses.

Coley’s new work consists of a series of large-scale custom-made lightboxes which combine original wallpaper from Zuber & Cie with short texts selected by the artist. The sources for the texts vary from classic American literature such as Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (1884) and JD Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” (1951) to a contemporary CNN news report about migrants at the US/Mexico border. Puncturing the idealised landscapes with words and phrases ‘borrowed from the world’, Coley invites the viewer to reflect on ideas of utopia, identity and our relationship to place.

Alongside the new work, in Parafin’s lower gallery, Coley shows “Another Lecture” (2011), a work that has not previously been exhibited in the UK, which takes the form of a satirical presentation about urban architecture, voiced by the actress Cate Blanchett. As with the lightboxes, “Another Lecture” addresses ideas about how we construct our own sense of place and environment

‘The Future Is Inside Us, It’s Not Somewhere Else’ was originally commissioned by Edinburgh Art Festival with support from Scottish Government’s Festivals EXPO Fund, and additional support from by Zuber & Cie.

Zuber & Cie’s “Les Vues de L’Amérique du Nord” is still printed today with the 1,690 original antique woodblocks, printing 223 colours, carved in 1834 by the manufacturer’s artisans. These woodblocks are classified as Historical Monuments by the Ministry of Culture and are part of the French heritage. The Zuber factory is the last in the world to produce panoramic sceneries with woodblocks.

In 1962 Jackie Kennedy installed Zuber & Cie’s wallpaper in The White House as part of an extensive renovation and redecoration. “Les Vues de L’Amérique du Nord” was installed in the Diplomatic Room and has since provided a backdrop for images of successive US Presidents hosting foreign dignitaries or holding press conferences.

Nathan Coley lives and works in Glasgow and was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2007. Recent and important solo exhibitions include Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2017), Parafin, London (2017) New Art Centre, Roche Court, Salisbury (2016), House Festival, Brighton (2015), Pier Arts Centre, Orkney (2013), Kunstverein Freiburg (2013), Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2012), ACCA, Melbourne (2011), Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2004), Centro Cultural de Belem, Lisbon (2001) and the Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster (2000).

Notable group exhibitions include ‘Stories for an Uncertain World’, Edinburgh Art Festival (2019), ‘Possibilities For a Non-Alienated Life’, Kochi Muziris Biennale (2018), Arhus2017 – European Capital of Culture (2017), ‘Actions – The Image of the World can be Different’, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge (2018), ‘Age of Terror – Art since 9/11’, Imperial War Museum, London (2018), ‘Glow’, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2016), ‘Daydreaming With Stanley Kubrick’, Somerset House, London (2016), Bruges Triennial (2015), ‘Generation: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland’ (2014), ‘You Imagine What You Desire’, 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014), ‘Mom, Am I Barbarian’, 13th Istanbul Biennial (2013), ‘Tales of Time and Space’, Folkestone Triennial, UK (2008), ‘Days Like These’, Tate Triennial of Contemporary British Art, Tate Britain (2003), and in the ‘British Art Show 6’, BALTIC (2005).

Gallery hours Tues-Fri 10 am – 6 pm, Sat 12 – 5 pm, and by appointment


18 Woodstock Street
W1C 2AL London
United Kingdom


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