I first saw a Mat Collishaw work at Ngrongoro – a group exhibition initiated by artists during Berlin Gallery weekend 2018. In a dark room, on my way to see a Julian Rosenfeldt work, a lit mysterious carousel-like object caught my eye. As I approached, I noticed it was beautifully ornamented with butterflies, birds and other tiny figures. Abruptly it started spinning as the lights of the carousel, which was actually a zeotrope, flickered rapidly. It went faster and faster until a scene of a magical symphony of ecstatic flying birds and butterflies was revealed as a result of an optical illusion. The tension reached a peak and then stopped at once as the light turned off and the zeotrope stopped spinning. There was something so mesmerizing yet troubling and in the same time seductive in this work, I couldn’t get it out of my head for a while.
I started reading more and more about Mat Collishaw, the artist who is behind this manic fantasy zeotrope, and discovered an extremely intriguing and diverse artist, working with various medias such as sculpture, photography, installation and video (Lately also working with Virtual Reality). Collishaw is a key figure in the important generation of British artists who emerged from the Goldsmiths’ college of Art in the late 80’s, also known as the YBA -Young British Artists , who were launched in 1988 during the legendary show Freeze – a group show organised by Damien Hirst while he was still a student at the Goldsmiths College and included the works of fellow Goldsmiths students. In his works, Collishaw often references to art history, literature and actually any theme that intrigues him, or as he said in one of his interviews: “Anything is a potential source for an art work”. His works are often metaphoric and ambiguous, beautiful and revolting, intriguing yet brutal and morbid, in a way that punch you right in the face.
Later on, in June 2018 I was lucky enough to see his show at the Rudolfinum Galerie in Prague and even made it to his book launch followed by a tour through the exhibition, guided by Collishaw himself who turned out to be a modest, unpretentious and very cool guy (:
In the beginning of December his exhibition The Grinders Cease opened at the excellent Blain|Southern Gallery in Potsdamer straße (an area which became in the past 7 years one of the most vivid and exciting gallery areas in Berlin). The enormous gallery, located in a venue that used to be the print room of “Der Tagesspiegel” newspaper, completely transformed itself in order to show Collishaw’s works (some require completely dark spaces), such as Albion, 2017:
Mat Collishaw, The Grinders Cease, December 2018, installation view, Courtesy the artist and Blain|Southern, Photo: Trevor Good.
On this upcoming Thursday, the 10th of January at 18:30 an artist talk with Mat Collishaw and Lisa Zeitz (editor in chief of Weltkunst magazine) will be held at the gallery. You are all invited! The entrance is free, for participation you can write your name in the comments to this post or RSVP at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope to see many of you there!