Mat Collishaw, The Machine Zone, Installation view, 2023 / Courtesy of the artist
Mat Collishaw: Alluvion
Jun 6 – Oct 15, 2023
M77 Gallery
Milan, Italy

Alluvion, an exhibition of the works of British artist and intellectual Mat Collishaw, curated by Danilo Eccher, will be open to the public at M77 Gallery, Via Mecenate 77, from June 7 to October 15, 2023. Alluvion represents a new landscape modelled by material deposited by floodwaters, just as digital media floods our daily life and changes the social co-ordinates through which we manage communication, making us dependent on a world increasingly mechanised and controlled by technology, an image we find in most of Collishaw’s work.

Adopting a museum-style approach, the exhibition focuses on the ambiguities characterising the work of Collishaw, who concentrates his poetics on the infinite ways of perceiving images in order to create works capable of riveting viewers’ attention with beauty, only to lead them down the darker corridors of their imagination.

[ . . . ]

The M77 Gallery exhibition will be showing over 25 of Collishaw’s works in a sort of narrative that has the dimension and feel of museum display. Photographs, paintings and 3D works give us an idea of the most significant production of an artist whose central themes are illusion and desire. They are accessible and immediate, easy for the public to understand, compact and simple at first glance but densely layered within.

A recurring theme in his work is violence, as in the zoetrope All Things Fall, inspired by Ippolito Scarsella’s painting The Massacre of the Innocents. Commenting on the latter, a work of strong emotional impact, Mat Collishaw says that «paintings of “the Massacre of the Innocents” are based on the repetition of figures across the canvas. They’re designed to arouse our emotions and make our eyes move excitedly across the surface without any intimacy or focal point. Zoetrope capitalise on this aspect by literally repeating the figures to create an overwhelming orgy of violence that is at once terrifying and captivating».

Collishaw is fascinated by the reasons why humans are attracted to violence, which he doesn’t judge entirely negatively in that they’re ultimately connected to learning and self-improvement. This is why he aims to engage the public with violent images that make us wonder why we’re attracted to them.

One of the most significant works on display is The Machine Zone, an installation of robotic birds that perform an algorithm of repetitive actions. This refers to experiments performed in the 1850s by the American psychologist B.F.Skinner, who analysed the behaviour of small animals under the stimulus of a reward system, showing that a casual reward creates a sort of constant uncertainty which encourages a behavioural cycle, a mechanism that’s also the basis of the algorithms guiding interactions on social media. Once again, the artist’s criticism of digital media is alive in his work. [ . . . ] Many of Collishaw’s works seem based on an aesthetic in which the sensuality of the flesh and the brutality of torture are in opposition, which shortcircuits contrasting feelings in the spectator and gives Collishaw’s works an almost mystic aura. This latent spirituality in his images is even stronger in the famous Last Meal on Death Row, a series of grim photographs, still lives of the last meals of prisoners condemned to death in the USA. We immediately notice the evocation of Christ’s last supper before martyrdom on the cross. The religious substrate in all his works is never felt to be a Christian vision of future redemption but rather a presentation of something perturbing in itself and intrinsically human.

Interaction with the public is an essential feature of Collishaw’s works, which have little sense outside the time of contact with them. The relationship with the spectator is absolutely personal, individual, never collective. Collishaw experiments with different media – photography, sculpture, videos and environmental installations – to forcefully gain his viewers’ attention and make them aware of their complicity in being deceived.

  • Mani Mazinani and Sanaz Mazinani: Dastgāh
    Jun 4 – Oct 31, 2024
    Evergreen Brick Works
    Toronto, Canada

    How do you listen? What do you hear? Nestled in the Don River ravines amidst urban trails and the Don Valley Parkway, Dastgāh is a sound sculpture that asks visitors to open their ears and listen differently. Created by the brother and sister duo Mani Mazinani and Sanaz Mazinani, the instrument takes its title from the Farsi term “dastgāh,” and can be literally translated as a “hand” (dast) and “gāh” (way) or “set of directions,” a modal system that serves as the foundation for composition and improvisation in Iranian music. (more…)

  • Prisma Art Prize 2024
    Deadline Aug 3, 2024
    Prisma Art Prize

    Prisma Art Prize is an art contest born to promote emerging painters and visual artists. As our name and logo suggests, we want to be a prism that refracts all the possible outcomes of the painting process. What we want is to answer a fundamental question in the current artistic context: what does painting mean today? At the base of our project, there is the constant and inclusive research and enhancement of artists from different cultural and educational backgrounds. (more…)

  • Aperture
    Foundation / Magazine
    Featured Profile

    Aperture, a not-for-profit foundation, connects the photo community and its audiences with the most inspiring work, the sharpest ideas, and with each other, in print, in person, and online.

    Created in 1952 by photographers and writers as “common ground for the advancement of photography,” Aperture today is a multi-platform publisher and center for the photo community. (more…)

  • Immemory
    Apr 12 – Jun 30, 2024
    Keelung Museum of Art
    Keelung City, Taiwan

    Immemory, “bē-kì-tit” in Taiwanese, is a memory project focusing on the “historical turn” in contemporary art over the past decade in specifically the local context of Keelung. The exhibition considers historical objects and facts as the “thing-in-itself,” aiming to explore Foucault’s concept of “historical a priori” through self-reflexive historiography. The project presents five leitmotifs: “archive fever,” “cold cold war,” “things as the historical a priori,” “politics of exosomatic memory,” and “settler colonialism vs colonialism.” (more…)

  • George Byrne: Synthetica
    Jun 13 – Jul 14, 2024
    Show Gallery
    Los Angeles, USA

    Show Gallery is pleased to present Synthetica, a solo exhibition by Los Angeles-based Australian artist George Byrne. References to magical realism, modernism, theosophy, and AI combine to explore the tension between the natural and the artificial. The exhibition challenges preconceptions of reality in an increasingly digital age while paying homage to Byrne’s analog photo roots and influence from the new topographic photographers. (more…)

  • Strength Away From Home
    Jun 6 – Jul 8, 2024
    Foam / KLABU
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

    Foam and KLABU proudly present the exhibition Strength Away From Home in a new edition of Galerie Mercatorplein in Amsterdam West. The exhibition reflects on the courage and resilience of the millions of refugees worldwide who are forced to leave their familiar surroundings and build a new life far from home. The groundbreaking portraits are created by photographer Coco Olakunle to change the narrative surrounding refugees and to amplify their personal voices. (more…)

Visit our New Announcement Submission page > Announcement Submission page >