© The Artist


Simon Patterson (1967 – )


720 X 1020 MM
Accession number


In Simon Patterson's The Great Bear, the familliar names of stations on the map of the London Underground were replaced by the names of philosophers,saints, footballers, actors. The map suddenly seemed to offer the opportunity to travel the famous names of history and popular culture, passing a succession of comedians on the way to a philosopher. Patterson uses familiar systems for the classification and the ordering of information and undermines their authority by imposing new yet similarly familiar information. He has used the forms of maps, typewriters, circuits, slide-rules, air traffic route plans and constellation diagrams. They become metaphors for the connectedness of things, they suggest new relationships between them, parallel readings, other ways of configuring the data which govern our lives. In this print based upon the Periodic Table, the names of the elements beneath their symbols are replaced by the names of astral bodies: Be becomes Betelgeuse, O becomes Orionis. The chemical elements of the universe become its astronomical components.

Multiple Choice: Prints by Young British Artists, The British Council 1997