Simeon Barclay: In the Name of the Father
23 Sep- 27 Nov 2022
Past exhibition

Simeon Barclay, In the Name of the Father, South London Gallery, September 2022. Installation view, Andy Stagg.

The South London Gallery presents a major solo exhibition by Simeon Barclay (b.1975) featuring an installation of new works in the Main Gallery. Known for his multimedia practice which incorporates sculpture, collage, neon, and moving image, Simeon Barclay explores the ways we navigate and perform identity based on cultural memory. His art is particularly engaged with aspects of aesthetics, and he often creates interventions in the architecture of gallery spaces through colour, light, and the use of industrial materials. His influences range from folk tales, fashion, and club culture, through to concepts of masculinity and the history of art.     

In the Name of the Father brings together a new body of works that extends Barclay’s enquiry into questions of legacy, identity, and masculinity, through the lens of the father son relationship. Works in various media weave together multiple references to the personal, the social and the geographical as an attempt to understand and negotiate one’s relationship to place. The history of Huddersfield’s cloth industry and the artist’s father’s original trade as a tailor are both alluded to in a duo of bespoke grey felt suits, as is the wider history of urbanisation and migration in the town. Barclay’s past employment as an industrial machinist has been a major influence in his artistic practice and a towering totem of containers hints at this, as well as being suggestive of the chimneys that remain a feature in Yorkshire’s post-industrial landscape.  

The show is full of symbols. There are lost footballs stuck up in the eaves of the gallery, totally out of reach. The locked doors have incomprehensible signs on them, like they’re the offices of faceless government departments. One of the doors is open, you push through and find a huge neon sign for Johnny’s, a nightclub in Huddersfield that was hard to get into. This is direct, physical, imposing art that forces you to feel the alienation and rejection of being an outgroup.

Barclay frequently meshes multiple cultural references into his works, playing on the degree to which our interpretation of art depends on the cultural perspectives we bring to the process. Works in the show nod to the artists Constantin Brancusi, Joseph Beuys and Alexander Calder, as well as to ‘Johnny’s’ nightclub in Huddersfield, the British 1979 film, ‘Scum’, and 1960s Sci-Fi TV series, ’Thunderbirds’. Dream-like memories of Barclay’s experiences are the triggers for the works brought together in this show, whilst the layering of additional references represent a process of filtering and re-remembering. The autobiographical content is undeniable and serves to draw out a much wider context, bringing into focus multiple issues around cultural barriers and relationships of power.   


Simeon Barclay (b. 1975, in Huddersfield, UK) received his BA from Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds in 2010 and an MFA from Goldsmiths College, London in 2014. Barclay is a member of the Arts Council Acquisition Committee since 2021 and a member of the advisory committee for the Freelands Foundation since 2018, and in 2020 he was selected to be included in the British Art Show 9.    

He has exhibited both nationally and internationally including at Southbank Centre, Tate Britain, South London Gallery, London; Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool; Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Workplace Foundation, Gateshead; Holden Gallery, Manchester; The Tetley, Leeds; Cubitt Gallery, London; The Bluecoat, Liverpool; Jerwood Space, London; Galerie Lisa Kandlhofer, Vienna; Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels; Arcadia Missa, New York and W139, Amsterdam. His work is in the Arts Council Collection, London; Zabludowicz Collection, London; Manchester Art Gallery and Whitworth Art Gallery collection, Manchester.  


  • A large print exhibition guide is available 

  • Ear plugs, ear defenders, magnifying glasses and wheelchairs are all available 

  • The Main Gallery space is well lit with low noise 

  • There is a fog machine in the rear part of the gallery  

  • There is a door inside the exhibition which can be opened by visitors. The door is not push button activated.
  • The exhibition includes freestanding sculptures and paintings

  • See our access page for more information.


Exhibition view

Simeon Barclay, In the Name of the Father, South London Gallery, September 2022. Installation view, Andy Stagg.
Simeon Barclay, In the Name of the Father, South London Gallery, September 2022. Installation view, Andy Stagg.