Curated by Danilo Eccher
Mat Collishaw, project for "Ophelia". 2010
Carrara white marble and Ming green marble and projection 6
Mat Collishaw (Nottingham 1966), one of the most significant figures of Young British Art, the protagonist of important exhibitions like Freeze (1988) and Sensation (1997) presenting in prestigious public collections including the Tate in London and the Centre Pompidou of Paris, enjoys playing with the fascination of the image. Photography, sculpture and installation are his instruments to investigate beyond the surface, forcing the eye to look beyond the reassuring representations of reality and its inventions.
The artist draws a 360° of the past, through the influences of mythology and classic art, the triumph of light and darkness of the Baroque, to the Victorian atmosphere, to seize and seal instants of the contemporary through irony, but also the excess and disturbance. The confines between life and death, reality and illusion, pain and peace are the focus of his research and creative experimentation. It is the limit that attracts him and with it the contemporary attempts to build bridges, find solutions, exorcise.
In occasion for his exhibition curated by Danilo Eccher, at the space of FaMa GALLERY of Verona that reflects the heritage of Byblos Art Gallery, Collishaw proposes a body of unpublished work, developing a project that takes inspiration from the history of art: pictures from western cultural heritage that the artist used and processed through the use of modern technology and, thanks to this revision, reflect on contemporary fears and limitations, as suggested by the title of the exhibition.
For the sculpture of Ophelia, he chose Carrara marble and classic softness in order to make the contrast between the formal harmony and the harshness of reality more evident, that emerges clearly through the use of projection technology, which simulates the flow of water over the nearly helpless body of the young woman. Ophelia, feminine figure of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, embodies the theatrical dimension in which Collishaw’s work lingers, but in the reflection the drama of love also expresses the mockery of power and its laws.
Hand-painted acrylic, the large zoetrope, inspired by Mantegna’s Parnassus: a cylindrical work that, rotating, produces the illusion of movement through a game of flashing lights and rapid succession of small static sculptures. When the work begins to turn, the memory returns to the strobe while a bacchanal of sex and death dance before our eyes. The exhibition also includes a small still life’s of birds, lenticular prints that to the beauty of the images’ brightness and to an invitation interact in the vision, alongside the harshness of the last spasm before death and its infinite repeatability. As fascinating, likewise, are the large charcoal paintings, entitled “Last Suppers”, Baroque in light and pathos, representing the last frugal meal of those sentenced to death with great clarity.
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