Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, is pleased to announce Borderline Something, its second exhibition with British artist Toby Ziegler. Ziegler has been captivated for a long time by our relationship with objects: a relationship that is at the core of this exhibition. The artist has designed a sort of meta-structure that responds to the architecture of the gallery. This white, wooden, linear structure snakes around the space, framing individual works as well as establishing relationships between them. It unifies the eleven paintings and four sculptures on display, and proposes a meandering route through the exhibition.
All works refer more or less obviously to fragments taken from still-life paintings, including works by the Flemish painter Hans Memling, and the Spanish masters Francisco de Zurbarán and Luis Eugenio Mélendez. Ziegler carefully chooses an image for specific iconographic and pictorial reasons, which becomes the source for one or more paintings or sculptures. The source imagery is cropped, discoloured and enlarged. The artist’s process uses computer software to transform the image, frequently beyond recognition, before it is translated into a painting or a sculpture that is painstakingly constructed by hand.
Ziegler’s paintings on aluminium present a singular brightness and transparency. They are composed of thousands delicate brushstrokes comparable to pixels. Grids or gradations in a single colour are sprayed over the image to produce a final layer that counterbalances the laborious mark making beneath. This kind of ‘necessary sabotage’ opens up the boundary between figuration and abstraction, reducing the evocation of the original motif to an elusive suggestion. This layering also slows down the reading of the imagery, echoing the protracted duration depicted in still life paintings.
The artist’s sculptures are produced through a similar process. A source image, frequently two-dimensional, is manipulated using 3D modelling software, before being translated into a faceted object made from a series of polygons. The objects are extracted from their original context in the source and are physically reconstructed, returning a sense of their three-dimensional autonomy. Most of the sculptures in this exhibition are made of concrete-canvas, a flexible fabric-like material that is impregnated with concrete and hardens into a rigid form when exposed to water.
Ziegler’s work addresses the boundaries between figuration and abstraction, sculptural and pictorial practice, architecture and drawing. The works’ titles all derive from the names of sunken ships, retracing the sense of disintegration suggested by the still life motif and the artist’s manipulations of his source imagery. This exhibition is an invitation to slow down and to get closer to the objects it engages with: to follow Ziegler‘s obsession by intensely trying to understand them.
Toby Ziegler was born 1972 in London, where he lives and works. He has participated in several solo and group exhibitions including The Cripples, in a London car park (2012); The Alienation of Objects, Zabludowicz Collection, London and Sarisalvo, Finland, New Art Gallery, Walsall and Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki (2011-2012); Gold, Belvedere, Vienna (2012); The Future Demands Your Participation, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai (2010); Newspeak: British Art Now, The State Ermitage, St.Petersburg and The Saatchi Gallery, London (2009-2010); Hamsterwheel, initiated by Franz West, Malmö Konsthall (2008); Recent Abstraction, British Art Displays 1500-2007 at Tate Britain, London (2007). His work is featured in major private and public collections including The Arts Council of England; The British Council; Tate Britain; Saatchi Gallery; François Pinault Foundation; Zabludowicz Collection; Goss-Michael Foundation; Kadist Art Foundation; British Airways Collection; Hudson Valley Centre for Contemporary Art and Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania.
Selected by Ingrid Melano