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Mat Collishaw's 'Submission' at Haunch of Venison

September 11, 2009 by Kay

Mat Collishaw's show 'Submission' will be at Haunch of Vension in Berlin from 12th September until 19th December 2009.

For more information visit the Haunch of Venison website.

To see Collishaw's prints, editions, publications and clothing produced with Other Criteria, please click here.

Insecticide 15 ,  2009

Mat Collishaw Insecticide 15 ,  2009 C-type photo on Dibond
182.9 x 182.9 cm 72 x 72 inches (HV26420)

Haunch of Venison's Press Release:

For his first solo exhibition in Berlin, British artist Mat Collishaw presents a corrupted digital manipulation of Francis Bacon's 'Pope Innocent X', itself famously appropriated from a Velazquez original. Entitled 'The End of Innocence' and projected on a monumental scale, Collishaw's rendering of the iconic portrait presents a densely striated image, its forms constantly dissolving and reconstituting in the manner of the 'digital rain' popularised by the Matrix film trilogy.

In stark contrast to the postmodern digital encoding of Bacon's Pope, the other works in the exhibition reveal Collishaw's fascination with Victorian-era viewing devices and techniques. The distorted figures of a toreador and a bull in the anamorphic bullfight video 'Skin Flick 2' only become pictorially coherent when viewed in a mirrored javelin that lances the table. Similar representations of human violence against the animal kingdom are found in 'The Garden of Unearthly Delights'. Animated by a mechanised zoetrope, devilish imps attempt to spear snails, throw rocks at butterflies and hit fish in this spectral garden.

Accompanying these major new works is a series of 'Insecticide' photographs featuring insects captured at the moment of their death. Enlarged on an epic scale, Collishaw calls these images "degraded and violent memorials to a once living form". The embalmed bodies of the insects evince the brutality of their death: their velvet-like wings torn, their antennae broken, their internal fluids bleeding from their crushed thoraxes. Their presentation recalls the practice of classifying and displaying naturalia in seventeeth-century cabinets of curiosity.

Collishaw's work reveals an ongoing preoccupation with representational techniques, how we consume imagery, and with visual devices that beguile the human eye. The artist is typically interested in images which are at once alluring and disturbing, which elicit ambivalent feelings of enchantment and disenchantment, attraction and repulsion in the viewer. "I'm interested in the way imagery affects me subliminally," Collishaw comments. "Whether I like it or not, there are mechanisms within us that are primed to respond to all kinds of visual material, leaving us with no real say over what we happen to find stimulating. The dark side of my work primarily concerns the internal mechanisms of visual imagery and how these mechanisms address the mind.'