artist / participant

press release

Grimm|Rosenfeld is pleased to announce the first one-person exhibition of London-based artist Mat Collishaw in Germany. The show will be composed of four video installations and a series of photographs.

Collishaw’s video work incorporates antique furniture, leisure devices and technology as devices for expanding the allegorical implications of the digital image. These anachronistic props, specifically Victorian in vintage, are travelers from a period of time, like today, which experienced tremendous social, cultural and economic upheaval. This kind of change always brings about questions of valuation, morality and equivalence, and it is this ambiguous space in flux that Collishaw is interested in exploring.

This exploration often manifests itself in fantasias of the richness and beauty of violence; The Sorcerer, a beautifully carved Chinese room-divider becomes the projection screen for a tenderly colored video of a mushroom cloud exploding against a dark sky. Conversely, in The Liar, an ornate wooden frame has been fit with a mirror and LCD screen on which a beautiful fantail dove slowly appears and disappears. The use of these old objects is regenerative, and this magic can enchant and irritate at the same time, as in The Idolater. Through the lens of an ancient projector, we can see a Chardin painting of a boy smoking a pipe made to blow real (video) bubbles.

The Unbeliever navigates this line very clearly. This video of a rattlesnake preparing to strike presents obviously threatening iconography, but the engagement with the viewer goes deeper: using cylinder anamorphosis, an optical illusion popular in Victorian times, Collishaw presents a distorted image on an LCD screen that has been built in to an antique table. By setting a reflective cocktail shaker on the screen, the serpent is revealed perfectly in the cylinder?" a nod to the snake’s biblical symbolism as a revisionist of perception.

In the Infectious Flowers photographs, hothouse specimens are posed against beautiful backgrounds of postcard perfect sunsets. Marring the delicate surface of the flowers’ petals are the boils and pustules of human skin diseases, subtly rendered. Ensconced in ornate frames, the group of flower photographs are a toxic counterpoint to the saccharin image of Butterfly and Flowers where Collishaw has remade the insect with peacock’s wings.

Mat Collishaw is a prime accomplice in the reemergence of British art in the early 1990’s. His work was included in the landmark SENSATION exhibition and has been included in exhibitions at Tate Modern, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Mus?e d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris de la Ville de Paris, the ICA, Boston and Inverleith House, Edinburgh.


Mat Collishaw