Launch Pad is delighted to announce its inaugural commission in Shanghai. British artist Dryden Goodwin has been invited to make a new site-specific work for the Shanghai residence of Hong Kong collectors, Jane and Dominique Lee. Goodwin will discuss the piece, “Seeing Hand” on 10 November 2017, in conversation with Karen Smith, British art critic and historian specialising in contemporary Chinese art. The event and viewing will be open to a limited audience by RSVP only.

Dryden Goodwin’s work revolves around carefully observed social and environmental situations that he records in drawings and often combines with photography and live action video. His practice reflects a fascination with the distinctions between public and private, an inquiry that he develops most clearly in the context of the city where the two are often indistinguishable. Voyeurism and forensic observation are at play in equal measure in his intricate drawings of strangers, of bus passengers, for example, of restaurant diners, of people waiting in airports or hospital wards for loved ones.

For “Seeing Hand,” Goodwin made several trips to Shanghai for a combined period of 6 weeks. During this time, he lived with the collectors, familiarising himself with the immediate neighbourhood, the Lees’ friends and associates, and further afield, with the public spaces and environs of the city. He made hundreds of drawings that chronicle the people, places, and situations he encountered. Goodwin also recorded the process of image-gathering on film that will be screened as part of the exhibition. The result is a piece that captures in micro and macro the combinations of old and new, traditional and contemporary, familiarly Western and distinctly Chinese, which distinguish Shanghai and the hosts themselves.

Commenting on the heightened sense of connection to subject that drawing elicits, Goodwin remarked, ”Any individual person, much like a city as vast as Shanghai, resembles a drawing, built up in layers and marked over time, mapping a development towards an unknown state, incomplete and speculative, holding history, personal narratives and imagined futures.”

Launch Pad was established in 2014 by London-based collector Sarah Elson as a platform for artists to gain exposure to new audiences. Invited artists conduct a research visit to the private residence of the collector, and conceive a new work that is later executed, installed and exhibited in the home. Launch Pad opens the home to a viewing audience and creates events around the resulting work, drawing on the host’s network in the art community. Past commissions have been presented in London and New York. This is the first Launch Pad commission to be hosted in China.

Sarah Elson developed Launch Pad out of a desire to support emerging artists directly, develop her collection, commission new work, and participate in the creative process. She aims to foster a dialogue on commissioning and collecting new art by exposing the process to the public, and offering an innovative model of art philanthropy. This collaboration with the Lees introduces the model to a Chinese audience for the first time. The commission also exposes Dryden Goodwin, an artist with an exhibition history in the UK, Europe and the US, to Chinese artists, curators, collectors and museum professionals.

Jane and Dominique Lee, whose own extensive collection includes works by important Modern British and international painters, were attracted to Goodwin’s unique approach to figurative drawing. “Seeing Hand” is a more personal and specific continuation of this tradition, which is represented in the collection by the likes of William Kentridge and Frank Auerbach, Paula Rego and Maggie Hambling.

Karen Smith, who has been based in Beijing since 1992, has written several books on China’s contemporary art scene. Her curatorial work includes numerous group and solo exhibitions for Chinese artists at home and abroad. She is Director of OCAT, the museum of contemporary art in Xi’an.

Dryden Goodwin (b1971) is based in London and has shown widely in the UK and abroad including exhibitions at Tate Britain, Tate Modern, and The Photographers’ Gallery, London. He has also produced large scale public art projects, such as “Linear,” commissioned by Art on the Underground, and “Breathe,” commissioned by Invisible Dust. He is a Reader at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, London.