September sees New Works by Mat Collishaw exhibited at Other Criteria New Bond Street. This includes a delicate edition of glass water pipes and a series of photographic prints, extending Collishaw’s previous series titled ‘Last Meal on Death Row’.
Collishaw’s sculptures, the ‘Innercity Inhalers’, are replicas in glass of plastic smoking bongs made and used by resourceful drug addicts the world over. You could view them as debased interpretations of Marcel Duchamp’s ‘Air de Paris’ (a glass ampoule containing air from Paris). These works address the polluting, but also mind expanding effects of inner city air. One does not have to light the bong in order to get the desired effect – the visual distortion taking place when looking through the translucently coloured and partially melted bongs is perhaps a sensation not dissimilar to the perceptual disorientation of someone using it to smoke drugs.
The ‘Last Meal on Death Row’ prints depict carefully arranged still-lives of the meals chosen by American death row prisoners on the last day before their execution.
For the series, Collishaw restated a number of – often intriguing – last suppers and arranged them in the style of 17th century Vanitas paintings, a manner traditionally used to reflect on the transience of life, the futility of pleasure, and the certainty of death.
Whilst aesthetically pleasing in the most classical sense, these photographs reveal below the surface a shocking confrontation with the imminence of death, and give insight into the desires and fears of the to be executed. Humble and mundane foods like cheeseburgers or ice cream take on a new poignancy, as the pictures become surrogate portraits of the prisoners.
The multi-layered yet subtle way in which the message is conveyed is characteristic for Collishaw’s oeuvre.
Mat Collishaw | New Works
20.09 – 23.10.2012
36 New Bond Street
London W1S 2RP
All images © Mat Collishaw and Other Criteria
Words by Anna Bang
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