19 June – 31 July, 2008
for immediate release
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery is delighted to present Deliverance, an exhibition of new work by Mat Collishaw. For his fifth solo show with the gallery, Collishaw creates installation and photo-based works that explore the impact of disturbing subject matter presented through formally stunning imagery. Mining the fertile ground between oppositional themes: reality versus reproduction, observation versus exploitation, seduction versus repulsion, Collishaw presents works that captivate the viewer in their seemingly contradictory ability to incorporate beauty and horror in equal measure.
Immersing the visitor in a scenario of violent conflict, the dramatic large-scale installation in the main gallery, from which the show derives its title, examines portrayals of disaster in the media. Comprised of staged images 'fired' from ceiling mounted projectors onto the darkened gallery’s walls, the atmosphere of Deliverance is at once theatrically entertaining and simultaneously disquieting. The staged images projected onto the walls are of escape, from some unknown and unseen disaster; mothers carry half naked filthy children to safety, and bedraggled boys and girls run from danger, their appearance out of the dark blankness behind them seems to imply that there may have been others left behind who were not so lucky. Phosphorescent paint covers the entire main gallery, temporarily capturing the projections of these images on the walls, where they glow with a yellow-green light and gradually fade to black.
The projectors, swiveling, clicking, and flashing like a military armament of paparazzi cameras, create a dazzling, hypnotic and disorienting environment, occasionally freezing the viewer’s own shadow on the wall and incorporating them into the installation. Full of psychological intensity, Deliverance recontextualizes the spectacle of violence exploited by a voracious 24-hour cable television and Internet news culture, to create a work that is as chilling as it is entrancing.
The daguerrotypes presented at the threshold of Deliverance provide a history of image making, an explanation and examination of the origins of our visual culture. The daguerrotypes depict the same models used in Deliverance, though here the subjects have been removed from the context of fast paced and glossy reportage and encased within the coffin like intimacy of the daguerreotype presentation cases—images of disaster preserved as keepsakes.
Collishaw’s work is in many major international museum collections and his recent exhibitions include Les Fleurs du Mal, Museo D’Arte Contemporanea, Sannio Benevento, 2007 (group); Reconstruction #2, Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, Gloustershire, 2007 (group); Into Me / Out of Me, PS1 MoMA, Long Island City, New York, 2006 (group); and What Makes You and I Different, Tramway, Glasgow, 2006 (group), and Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, 2005 (solo) among others.