Wanderlust, love, connection, nostalgia, desire and sadness — human nature is a fickle thing. In his first London exhibition in over twenty years, artist Jack Pierson returns to English soil to document a journey of emotions spanning a lifetime connecting experiences both intimate and common. Presented by Lisson Gallery through August 3rd, viewers are invited to forget Instagram and TikTok and take a journey around the arc of a lifetime.
Having graduated from the Boston School in the 1980s, including fellow alum Nan Goldin and David Armstrong, Pierson drew inspiration from the punk performativity at the time known for transgresing and disrupting social norms. Such a theme has been at the root of Pierson’s career as the artist fuses various mediums – spanning collage, installation and sculpture – creating an unconventional, multi-disciplinary practice. 
Underpinning Pierson’s work is a sense of connection. While the artist seeks to prioritise the narratives and freedoms of each individual, he also documents how such experiences play out universally, in different decades or distant continents, or perhaps even just down the road. The focus of the exhibition is Yellow Array (2024), a coalescence of photographs, drawings, movie and music posters, highlighting the theme of nostalgia. The piece mirrors a teenager’s bedroom wall or a scrapbook featuring scavenged memorabilia from bygone eras. On the walls of the gallery, one might also notice a series of folded photographic works. Pierson evokes images of casual reminiscence; how easy it is to hold on to experiences as it is to dissolve that particular narrative into the paper creases (and remember to blu tack it to your walls). 
Pierson’s renowned word-sculptures feature heavily too juxtaposing dazzling images with such bleak words. Phrases such as A Friend, You Are The Sun, A Pill Bitten In Half, Room For Angels and Thank You (all 2024) are spelt out with mid-century letters that evoke further feelings of wistfulness for both the past and the future – a longing to grow up and back down. The recurring theme of nostalgia in the artist’s work suggests how each and every life experience defines your person. Across each room of the exhibition, in other sculptures and photographs, shades of yellow follow the viewer reminding us that one’s authentic self prevails no matter the darkness. 
In a world consumed by glamourised consumption, Pierson’s exhibition illustrates the journey of human nature, of everyday emotions, and the complexities of identity. This poignant experience offers viewers the chance to reflect on the profound impact of these themes within their own lives, transcending the superficial and embracing the intricate nuances that shape our collective human experience.