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Blain|Southern: Mat Collishaw ‘Creation Condemned’ - 13 Oct 2010 to 17 Dec 2010

Current Exhibition

13 Oct 2010 to 17 Dec 2010

21 Dering Street
United Kingdom

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Artists in this exhibition: Mat Collishaw

Mat Collishaw
‘Creation Condemned’

21 Dering Street, London W1S 1AL
13 October – 17 December 2010
Preview: Tues 6-8pm, 12 October

Blain|Southern opens its London gallery with ‘Creation Condemned’, an exhibition of new work by British artist Mat Collishaw. For this show, Collishaw juxtaposes potent visions of the natural and supernatural worlds with traditional sculptural forms to explore creation and destruction, beauty and torture.

In ‘Performance’, a swarm of butterflies are engulfed in flames as they take flight. The violence is unrelenting but has a hypnotic beauty, holding the eye like the embers of a fire. The film is set within an alterpeice: once a glossy display case for the celestial suffering of the saints, now a charred and melancholy acknowledgement of the malice it confines.
Fire is used to different effect in ‘Auto-Immolation’. An imposing red orchid suspended in a glass sealed cabinet is licked by a creeping blue flame as it unfolds into life; its petals open to reveal a menacingly beautiful display of vitality in its deathly surroundings. Crimson sap cascades down the orchid’s stem and its labellum unfolds coquettishly. Unlike the butterflies, fire appears to give rather than take life, and yet the outcome is the same. Nature takes its inexorable path. The flower is corporeal; however brightly it burns in its lifetime it will go the way of all matter.

‘For Your Eyes Only’, a three-part video tableaux of a topless pole-dancer, is set within separate altarpieces. By using three screens Collishaw alludes to Christ on the Cross flanked by two thieves, the dancer's pole recalling the stem of the crucifix. The artist draws a parallel between ancient religious rites and sordid acts of contemporary life to create a composition of explicit allure.

In contrast to these intrinsically digital works, ‘Superveillance’ transposes Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s baroque masterpiece the Ecstasy of Saint Theresa into a lithophane. Illumination is provided by a scanner that, much the same as a Xerox, roves in an unbroken line behind the sculpture. The photocopier is the antithesis to the artistic process; clinical and providing an inferior representation, yet here the artist uses it to gradually reveal the carving in the same manner as the heavenly shafts of light found in religious paintings.

Finally, ‘Lost Prophet’ shows one of the two monumental Buddha sculptures hewn from the cliffs of Bamiyan, Afghanistan, after it was destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. The Taliban was so enraged by the depiction of a deity other than Allah that they annihilated it with dynamite and rockets. The desecrated Buddha appears only momentarily, requiring the interaction of light and substance to be visible.

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.

For further information and images please contact Mark Inglefield
T: +44 758 419 9500

Notes to editors:

Mat Collishaw

Mat Collishaw (b. 1966) is a key figure in the important generation of British artists who emerged from Goldsmith’s College in the late 1980s. He participated in Freeze (1988) and since his first solo exhibition in 1990 has exhibited widely internationally. Collishaw’s work is in important museum collections including Tate, London, and Centre Pompidou, Paris. Recent solo exhibitions have taken place at Haunch of Venison (Berlin) (2009), 'Deliverance' Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York (2008), ‘Nebulaphobia’ Unosunove, Rome (2009), the Freud Museum, London (2009), the British Film Institute (2010) and Raucci/Santamaria, Naples (2010). Collishaw lives and works in London.

Blain|Southern was established in September 2010 by Harry Blain and Graham Southern. This is the gallery’s inaugural exhibition.

Harry Blain and Graham Southern open London gallery

Harry Blain and Graham Southern open their new London gallery on October 13 with an exhibition by the British artist Mat Collishaw.

Called Blain|Southern, the gallery is located on Dering Street, Mayfair. Blain and Southern will open a larger space, also in Mayfair, in 2011 and have plans for further galleries in Berlin and New York.

Until June, Blain and Southern ran Haunch of Venison, the gallery they founded in 2002 and sold to Christie’s plc in 2007. The parting was amicable, with Blain and Southern continuing to work for the company until August 31, 2010.

Seven senior Haunch of Venison staff and other members of Blain and Southern’s team have joined them in the new venture.

Said Blain: “Technically Blain|Southern is a newly minted enterprise, but in reality it’s very much a continuation; we will be working with the collectors, museums and artists that we’ve built close relationships with over the last twenty years."

“The only major difference is that, being independent, we are now looking forward to applying to all the major art fairs, which will expose the artists we work with to an even wider audience.”

The new gallery will focus on its primary programme, working with a number of artists including Mat Collishaw, Anton Henning, Rachel Howard, Bill Viola and Jeroen Verhoeven. Others will be announced in the coming months.

Blain and Southern staged many acclaimed shows at Haunch of Venison, amongst them a landmark survey of Abstract Expressionism in New York and an exhibition with Damien Hirst and Michael Joo in Berlin.

For further information and images please contact Mark Inglefield
T:+44 (0)20 7493 4492
M: + 44 (0)7584 199 500

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