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Mega-gallery Hauser & Wirth has today announced its representation of Sonia Boyce, the high-profile UK artist who won the Venice Biennale’s top Golden Lion prize for her exhibition in the British Pavilion last year. Boyce’s first exhibition with Hauser & Wirth will be held in 2025; she also continues to be represented by Apalazzo Gallery in Brescia, Italy.
Earlier this year Boyce and Simon Lee Gallery in London parted ways after just two years. Lee’s representation of Boyce came in 2021, a year before her Venice Biennale presentation, which was sponsored by Christie’s, among others. At the time, Lee told The Art Newspaper that he and Boyce had known each other “since early in our careers”.
In July, Simon Lee Gallery, which counted more than 40 works on its roster, went into joint administration with the business advisory firm BDO LLP; it has remained closed since a notice was placed in the gallery window announcing the insolvency.
Boyce, who was born in London in 1962, came to prominence in the early 1980s as a key figure in the burgeoning Black Arts Movement with pastel drawings and photo collages that addressed issues of race and gender. Since the 1990s she has made multimedia, improvisational work, bringing people together in a social, performative practice that incorporates film, photography, print, installation and sound.
“For nearly 40 years, Boyce has consistently worked within the art school context where she has made invaluable contributions to reshape the discourse of art through her work as an academic. Since 2014 she has been a professor at University of the Arts London, where she holds the inaugural chair in Black art and design,” says a statement from Hauser & Wirth.
Asked how it felt to be the first Black woman occupying the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale, she told The Art Newspaper: “It’s shocking in 2022 to be the first in that instance. I shouldn’t be the first and it shouldn’t seem like a massive step. It’s just extraordinary that it’s taken this long and there are many artists who should have been considered along the way.”
Hauser & Wirth’s huge empire encompasses galleries in Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles, London, Somerset, St. Moritz, Gstaad, Menorca and Monaco. Its new Paris gallery is due to open next month in a 19th-century neoclassical private mansion at 26 bis rue François 1er, in the 8th arrondissement.