Lolly Batty

March 14–April 29, 2023

Press Release

White Columns is pleased to present Philatelic Items, a solo exhibition of recent works by the London-based artist Lolly Batty. This will be Batty’s first exhibition in the United States.

The exhibition comprises a group of eighteen of Batty’s “postal” works presented in a vitrine, alongside an extensive selection of facsimiles of the artist’s notes and preparatory drawings. The exhibition has been organized in collaboration with the artist Ian Whittlesea and The Everyday Press – who published Batty’s artist’s book Philatelic Items in 2022, copies of which can be purchased at White Columns.

Each of Batty’s works consists of an envelope and a formal arrangement of British postage stamps of various denominations, all of which feature the profile of Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022.) Each envelope also bears the address of the intended recipient (sometimes the artist herself.) Batty has then mailed the works – through the British postal service – where the stamps have been “franked” or “canceled” through mechanical means or by hand, prior to their eventual delivery.

Exploring the languages and methodologies of minimalism, conceptualism, mail art, and much more besides, Batty’s Philatelic Items are, in the words of the writer and curator Christabel Stewart “… both singularly authored, and a ‘collaboration’ with the postal system and its workers.” As such they are determinedly “social” works of art, what Stewart refers to as a “joint endeavor” between Batty and her unseen and unknown collaborators. Works from the Philatelic series have stamps that form ‘magic squares’, where each row, column and diagonal add up to the same number; some feature only prime numbers, while others explore the Fibonacci sequence. (The stamps themselves are also now something of anachronism, where the Queen’s portrait has been supplanted by that of her eldest son King Charles III.)

Over the past decade Batty has created more than five hundred of these Philatelic works, exploring the potentially infinite variations that her (intentionally) restricted materials offer. As Stewart suggests, there is “something generous and egalitarian about Batty’s process,” a process that is at once gently subversive and slyly humorous.



Lolly Batty is an artist based in London, U.K. Since the 1980s she has shown her work extensively including solo exhibitions at Victoria Miro Gallery (1986) and Cabinet (1992), both in London, and in group shows at Coracle, London and Bank, London among others. Her artist’s books Crosswords, 2009, and Philatelic Items, 2022, are published by The Everyday Press.



White Columns would like to thank Ian Whittlesea, Arnaud Desjardin, The Everyday Press, and Christabel Stewart for their cooperation on this project. A second exhibition of Batty’s ‘Philatelic Items’ will open at the Darren Flook gallery in London in Spring 2023. Batty’s exhibition at White Columns is accompanied by a text written by Christabel Stewart.

For further information about this exhibition contact:

Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11am to 6pm.

Lolly Batty, Philatelic Items, 2011-2015. Postage stamps and ink on envelopes, dimensions vary.