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Simon Hollington

Born 1961, London, UK

The Ascension (from The Great Reclamation Triptych)

Simon Hollington’s drawings depict the first earthlings ever to venture into space.

Taken from contemporary documentation, they employ the backdrop of early space exploration to observe our difficult relationship with the animals that are our nearest biological relatives. Despite making the first sacrifices for space exploration, they have been forgotten in the wake of man’s own entry into space.

For many, the conquest of space is still seen as the pinnacle of human achievement. However, outer space was for the first time experienced by a great ape on January 31, 1961, when Chimp 65 made a flight 16 minutes and 39 seconds long. On his return, he was renamed HAM and became an overnight media sensation.

In these startlingly realistic drawings, Hollington reminds us that these earthlings went into space before humans, scientifically and culturally paving the way for manned space flight. In many ways, it may be said that they are the ones that defined the 20th century. 

Hollington has exhibited widely in both solo and group shows across Europe, Australia and Brazil, including Tate Modern’s 2009 touring exhibition, Figuring  Landscapes and the New Forest Pavilion at the 2005 Venice Biennale. He currently lectures at the renowned Central St. Martin’s, London.



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