Simon Denny

Simon Denny


Simon Denny is a contemporary visual artist from Auckland, New Zealand. He studied painting at University of Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts (2001-2005) and at the Stadelschule, Frankfurt am Main, (2007-2009). His interests lie in internet-technology, start-up culture, and technological obsolescence. By playing with conventions in computer programming, Denny has created installations, sculptures, graphics, and moving images that have been exhibited globally at  MoMA PS1, Adam Art Gallery, Serpentine Gallery, and the 56th Venice Biennale.

His most recent works include: “Future and the Arts: AI, Robotics, Cities, Life – How Humanity Will Live Tomorrow,” Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, 2019; “Vienna Biennale for Change 2019”, MAK – Osterreichisches Museum fur Angewandte Kunst, Wien, 2019; “Mine,” MONA, Berriedale, Tasmania (solo), 2019; “I Was Raised on the Internet,” MCA Chicago, Chicago, 2018; “Hammer Projects: Simon Denny,” Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (solo), 2017. [1]

Denny’s recent exhibition “Mine” was held at Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in 2019-2020. The three-room installation includes various sculptures integrated with augmented reality, visitor interaction, and real-time data extraction on The O, a data mining device “inside of MONA that captures…what visitors are loving and hating.” By mapping museum participants movements through the museum and how they interact with virtual queues and the collection, Denny was trying to follow tech conversations about “automation and labor, and worries about robots taking jobs”:

“The reason humans know that climate change even exists is because of measuring devices and strategies and systems of classification. But these are, in themselves, potentially making the situation worse…Instead of being a farmer, you’re building a Google or Facebook, one of these large global platforms, instead of keeping sheep on your land, you keep data in the “cloud” (storage facility). You monetize not the wool, but on the data, you collect…Extraction is the keyword. There is mineral extraction from the ground, mining. But there is also extraction as it works in data and platform capitalist models of business…I was trying to draw a line between those forms of extraction while tying it to Tasmania and the context of Australia.” [2]

Denny received Art Basel’s annual Baloise Art Prize in 2012. He is represented by Galerie Buchholz and is a founding member of the Auckland artist-run gallery Gambia Castle.

Since 2018, he has been teaching media at the HFBK in Hamburg.