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This latest London art show by the artist Toby Ziegler deals with memory. It is a striking and unnerving set of images and sculpture that conjure up emotions and nostalgia for memories, people and places that were never really ours in the first place. So they appear at once familiar yet unsettling.
In an age of digital reproduction they play with ideas of memory and how these perceptions can play tricks on us and even deceive us. The images are reproduced, repainted, re-imagined several times over so as to appear degraded – ghostlike. And as with real memories they become just interpretations, fleeting yet burnt into our memory banks at a certain point in time.
Both the sculptures and paintings begin life as with found images. These can be archaelogists’ grainy photographs of Palaeolithic stone carvings or low resolutions jpegs of Flemish Old Master paintings serving as motifs, they seem to refer back to a past in which painting and sculpture functioned as both parable and symbol. These original images are then inverted, desaturated, fragmented and then rendered in translucent oil paint on aluminium panels. They appear like an after-image, bleached and emptied of content by over-exposure. Figuration is further obscured by layers of painted geometric gesture: an arrangement of air-brushed blobs, which appear almost to float in front of the picture.
The sculptures go through a similar transformation. This begins once the flat source image is redrawn as a three dimensional model. This redrawing is carried out in a purposefully approximate way and the sculptures are then fabricated in oxidised aluminium, which forms a hollow metal skin. These works also question memory and our interpretations of reality. We constantly question and reinterpret what we consider to be the real world until the very idea of authenticity loses its meaning.
Artist Toby Ziegler at The London art show runs from 20 January to 25 February 2012 at Simon Lee
12 Berkeley Street, London, w1j 8dt – simonleegallery.com