rue de l’Arquebuse 25
artist / participant
For the first time in Switzerland, over the period of several months, public and private spaces will be showing simultaneously works by the English artist Mat Collishaw. The aim of this event (www.collishaw-genevaevent.com) is to let art lovers and collectors appreciate the eclectic range – and evolution – of Collishaw’s art (photos, installations, drawings, video projections) from the early years of his career to his latest video installations created especially for this occasion.
Ancient legends depicting the attraction between beauty and evil/damnation, love and death, the blessed and the cursed are usually found as references in Collishaw’s art - his pieces on Jesus Christ (Shakin’ Jesus, 2003) and Ophelia (Cyrille, 2001) respectively) being strong examples of this. For his new shows in Geneva, W.M.Egley’s painting The Lady of Shalott and A. Tennyson’s poem holding the same title nourrished his inspiration.
In Tennyson’s poem, with its hypnotic rhythm and repitition, the Lady is imprisoned on an island, forbidden to look directly at the world, watching only through a mirror whose reflection she weaves into a tapestry web. Solitary and mysteriously accursed, she dreams of her own loyal knight and confesses herself «sick of the shadows», yearning for real experiences. So when the shining image of Lancelot, the red cross knight, appears in her mirror, she suddenly breaks the ban. In this moment of disobedience to the curse, she leaves the room and condemns herself to die. In his reinterpretation and modernisation of this poem, Collishaw re-articulates one of the dilemmas of art, caught between reflection and reality, and plays with the ambivalence of the metaphor of transformation from the world of shadows to that of substance and ultimately to death.
The themes of confinement and bondage, illusion-delusion, the perpetual ambiguity of closed spaces – whether dungeons, cupboards or cages - are favorite themes explored by Collishaw and will be found again in the new video projections presented in Geneva in May. The cruelty of emprisonment and suffocation, the desire and the anxiety to control, the fascination for submissive beauty and its ephemeral power will overflow Geneva these coming months.
only in german
Mat Collishaw - Geneva May-August 2004