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De Brock is pleased to present ‘New Estates’, the latest solo exhibition of British artist Keith Coventry, featuring a new series of paintings alongside works on paper.

Coventry, a graduate of Brighton Polytechnic (BA, now the University of Brighton) and Chelsea College of Art & Design (MA), found early success in the late 1980s and early 1990s exhibiting alongside many of those now at the forefront of recent British art history, most notably as part of the renowned Royal Academy of Arts’ Sensation exhibition in 1997 that showcased the collection of Charles Saatchi. Throughout his career, Coventry has combined both aesthetic and conceptual considerations within a practice that draws from both art historical movements and contemporary social, political and cultural issues.

His Estate Paintings, a body of work begun in 1992, took as their point of departure the building layouts of public housing complexes, and introduced elements of Modernist and Minimalist artistic ideals alongside those of the Russian Suprematism movement founded by Kazimir Malevich. As they say, the best-laid plans of mice and men, and such council housing projects, initially intended to provide idealised and aspirational living standards and be the beacon of utopian urban regeneration, quickly became breeding grounds for violence, vandalism, addiction and ghettoisation delineated by race and class.

While visually abstract in nature - their selection of single-coloured squares or rectangles contrasted against a stark white monochromatic background - Coventry’s geometric compositions are in fact firmly figurative, as the artist allows them to be dictated by the diagrammatic bird's-eye view maps that accompany each chosen estate.

Now, three decades on from the earliest Estate Paintings (examples of which reside in the collections of the Tate, London, the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and the Arts Council Collection), Coventry returns to the social housing series except with an added, darker dimension. In New Estates, each painting concentrates on cropped corners or partitioned parts of larger estates previously unexplored by Coventry, highlighting sites where violent acts have occurred recently. This cropping further abstracts the estates from their original configuration, leading to angular, inclined geometric forms and for the first time a landscape layout.

Whereas in the previous paintings, where even the colours were directly indicative of the council commissioned maps - often resulting in an unaesthetic bold or unappealing bright and primary palette with an air of the industrial or institutional - now Coventry takes command of colour, selecting stark shades or high-key hues such as Chrome Orange. The formal framing and panel plaques that were always integral to the Estate Paintings remain, although rather than their inscribed titles being lifted directly from their depicted estates, now even these are cropped, abstracted from any original intention into new seemingly senseless statements such as Stockholm, Escapade, Morning or Nash (All 2022).

Throughout, Coventry remains artistically ambivalent, perpetually passive, refraining from imposing any personal narrative or opinion onto the artworks, instead allowing their factual foundations to expose the inherited trauma and pervasive violence that for many estate residents has sadly become an unavoidable everyday reality. Here, he is the artist as archivist, a dogmatic documentarian of the facts as they were reported. Coventry chooses to stoically stay within the limitations he himself sets, focusing only on the crime scene sites and omitting any information as to the exact crime committed or distressing details of the individual victims.

Therefore, while the initial Estate Paintings only implied or inferred their own inherent systemic societal failures within, in New Estates we witness the explicit consequences of such self-perpetuating prophecies.

The opening reception will be held in presence of the artist on Saturday, April 16th, from 6 till 9 pm.

For enquiries, please e-mail