“I have gathered a posy of other men’s flowers, and nothing but the thread that binds them is my own.”
– Michel de Montaigne
Collage, for me, is a channel of negotiation in the modern world - a tool for intuitive discovery that acknowledges the global nature of information, harnessing an analogue approach through the physicality of cutting and tearing. The work in Sublime explores the relationship we as humans have with our surroundings and our perception toward forces of nature, exposing the fragility of the human condition.
A transformation of value and ownership occurs through appropriation of material associated with low culture: magazines, billboards and found objects culled from the local urban environment. Advertising becomes allegory, the throwaway becomes elevated and the presupposed intentions behind the printed media can be challenged.
The largest and most prominent work The Garden (a manifold of micro-creative acts) is overtly based upon the central panel The Garden of Earthly Delights, by Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450). The work was created intuitively, making direct reference to the original painting in composition and form, whilst drawing playfully upon Bosch's' surreal humour. At first glance the world is a playground. The players are engrossed in themselves and the immediate abundance of pleasure surrounding them. On closer inspection, one finds peculiarities, that make reference to contemporary issues. The use of magazine media breaks down the barrier between viewer and work of art, pushing itself into the complex universe of the everyday. Any strong moralistic standpoint, as with Bosch’s original, is ambiguous and outside of our immediate grasp.
In times of culture shift, political confusion and ecological turmoil, the work in this exhibition operates on a level of cathartic release - an attempt to synthesize the paradoxical emotions that arise from constant exposure to news of catastrophe. In this instance, the notion of the Sublime is to function as a reference towards a point of awareness, a space of humility where the ordinary fabric of existence is torn apart, and the dialectic between exhilaration and uncertainty is revealed. Continually shifting in scale and perspective, magazine spines become tiny landscapes, and circular cut-outs of magazine holiday destinations present us with a tunnel-like field of vision, interrupting the viewer's sense of spatial coherence.
With an awareness of the fragility the media (both related to that of mass communication, and to the medium of paper itself) we are reminded of the implications and consequences of desire. The intention of the exhibition is to provide a reflection of a contemporary explosion of a fragmented reality, one that continually drives us forward only to return to the ever present moralistic dilemmas that have shaped us before.
Sublime, at MUTE Gallery until 7th Feb 2019
Open Wed - Sat, 3.30pm - 7.30pm