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Art Exhibition: ‘Simon Patterson: Out of Order’

Visit Wolfson's latest exhibition 'Out of Order' featuring work by prominent artist Simon Patterson, open to the public, Saturday and Sundays, 10am - 5pm.

  • 6th November 2022 - 22nd January 2023
  • 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

The exhibition includes some early works by Simon Patterson from Wolfson College’s Frangenberg Collection, including Imperialvision Song Contest ‘Rome Version’ 1994 and the Periodic Table, 1996.  Patterson emerged as a significant artistic voice as part of the Young British Artists movement in the late 1980s. He studied at Goldsmiths’ College in London and took part in the seminal ‘Freeze’ exhibition of 1988, alongside Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas, Abigail Lane, Lala Meredith-Vula, and others.

Patterson’s art wittily subverts scientific taxonomies and graphical systems of knowledge: diagrams, maps and charts, lists, instruction-manuals, encyclopaedias, the systems we use to classify and organise our materials rationally.  Frequently his work is trans-systemic, taking one schema for ordering knowledge and inserting into it materials from a wholly different system or systems. The disruptions thus caused are humorous and demanding simultaneously, because Patterson’s art-works require a knowledge of the graphical or text-based schemata he playfully collides with one another.  They also demand the spectator’s familiarity with the sources he deploys – ranging from the Seven Rishis to contemporary football formations, from eighteenth-century novels to twentieth-century films and television.

Patterson’s disruptive reorderings of knowledge systems are often monumental and possess a poetic grandeur, qualities which are strikingly evident in his name-paintings – the works which first brought him to national and international attention – where names ‘substitute’ for representational portraits.

The Great Bear, a witty reworking of Harry Beck’s classic London Underground map, brought him to the attention of the wider public in 1992. In 1993 he showed a pair of Last Suppers at the Venice Biennale, in which the disciples took the formations of football teams, with Jesus Christ in goal.

Patterson was nominated for the Turner prize in 1996 and is showing two maquettes related to the Turner Prize show in this exhibition.  He has made numerous permanent and temporary works, and has exhibited at major museums worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Kunsthaus Zurich; Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, The Hayward Gallery, London; and Tate Britain, Liverpool and Modern.

Viewing the exhibition

The exhibition will be open to the public from Sunday 6 November.

Opening Times: Saturdays and Sundays 10.00-17.00, until Sunday 22 January.

Please note that the exhibition is occasionally unavailable, for instance during graduations.

It is advisable to contact the Porters’ Lodge in advance of your visit (01223 335900).


  • Accessibility Guide
  • Car Parking
  • Disabled Accessibility
  • Facilities for Disabled Guests
  • On site parking

Accessibility Facilities

  • Accessibility Guide
  • Assistance dogs welcome
  • Blue Badge Parking
  • Designated wheelchair public toilet
  • Staff available to assist

Did you know?

Take a wander around Cambridge between spring and autumn and you might be greeted by the sight of cattle roaming freely in parks and green spaces.