Wolfson Fine Arts - Current Exhibitions

Christopher Le Brun, Dualities

Opening: Saturday 12 May
14 May - 26 August, 2018
Saturdays and Sundays, 3-5pm

Shown for the first time at Wolfson College, this new series of paintings is a continuation from Christopher Le Brun's most recent series of prints, Composerwhich explores the musical form of distinct yet related movements and the essentially layered structure of both painting and music. Using a unique technique working directly onto the woodcut proofs, these remarkable oil paintings extend Le Brun’s lifelong preoccupation with colour – ‘experiencing rather than seeing’, as he describes it, ‘a property of the world we delight in for itself’ – and testing approaches to the juxtaposition of colour, tone, transparency and form.

The exhibition considers the theme of ‘doubles’ and dualities through a series of remarkable diptych paintings, the result of the artist’s long standing aesthetic, literary and philosophical interest in the idea of ‘the double’  - with parallels in the sciences and across human endeavour and scholarship. For Le Brun, the process of painting itself involves an intrinsic duality: ‘cover and uncover, reveal and hide, this goes to the heart of what painting is and does. It can’t be made without covering, and without reducing the original light of the ground.’ The implications of this approach form a connecting thread throughout Le Brun’s work, whether figurative or non-figurative. Combining two different paintings in a diptych allows Le Brun to ‘dramatise this duality’.

A fully illustrated book, Doubles, published by Ridinghouse accompanies the exhibition. It features an essay on the multi-disciplinary subject of Dualities by the exhibition curator Dr Anna M Dempster.

About the artist 

Christopher Le Brun is a painter, sculptor and printmaker. Born in Portsmouth and trained at the Slade and Chelsea Schools of Art in London, he is an internationally acclaimed artist. His work has been exhibited worldwide and can be found in major museum and public collections including those of Tate, London; Museum of Modern Art, New York; British Museum, London; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; The Whitworth, Manchester and Yale Center for British Art, New Haven amongst many others, as well as in leading private and corporate collections nationally and internationally.

Contributing his ideas and expertise to the direction of a number of the United Kingdom’s leading arts organisations, and leading them through times of growth and change, Le Brun served as a Trustee of Tate 1990-1995, The National Gallery 1996-2003 and Dulwich Picture Gallery 2000-2005. He was a Founding Trustee of the Royal Drawing School between 2000-2016 and is currently a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery, Since 2011 Christopher Le Brun has been President of the Royal Academy of Arts, London. the 26th President since Sir Joshua Reynolds and the youngest since Lord Leighton, in 1878. He has overseen the Royal Academy at a time of extraordinary innovation and growth, including in education, and guiding it to its 250th anniversary year in 2018.

This exhibition is curated by Dr Anna M. Dempster, Head of Academic Programmes at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, and College Research Associate, Wolfson College.


Wolfson Fine Arts organises a series of temporary exhibitions in College, which are open to the general public when the rooms are not otherwise in use by the College. Please call 01223 335900 in advance of your visit to avoid disappointment.

The Wolfson collection of oil paintings can be found on the ArtUK website.