Mathew Hale

08 Jul 2008

Mathew Hale, Taxi Stop Fiji, 2008
3-channel-slide projection, projection box
282 x 308 x 304 cm - 111 1/8 x 121 1/4 x 119 2/3 "
Mathew Hale
Jun 21 - Jul 26, 2008

Galerie Jan Wentrup is pleased to present the second solo show by the British artist Mathew Hale: JOURNAL MURAL.

The point of departure of Mathew Hale’s work is the classic paper collage, from which three-dimensional objects as well as slide projections develop. The process always starts without a concrete idea of what the end result will be like, very much in the spirit of the surrealist écriture automatique. His collages are the result of associations of ideas, shuffling of book pages, posters, magazines, newspapers, and photographs, the addition of drawn elements, or the spontaneous use of words and writing. He draws on materials with different dates, origins, and meanings. In an open play of form and content, fragments from the past and present, reality and fiction are combined into dream-like, alogical pictures, which are nonetheless informed by a structure of ideas. Documents, found pieces, and invented elements refer to different levels of reality: the private and public perspective on phenomena and events. By combining these opposites, Hale creates a kind of constructed memory.
Even though each work stands on its own, Hale’s collages are titled as running series and linked thematically. The series with names like MIRIAM STEALING, MIRIAM DIVORCEE, or MRS. GILLRAY give the impression of being the journals of a fictive character.

The exhibition’s title, JOURNAL MURAL (which is French for wall newspaper) stands in contrast to the journal privé (French for private journal or diary) and comes from Hales distinctive interest in graffiti; in particular, he refers here to the publication of the same title (Journal Mural, ed. Claude Tachou, June 1968), where only one month after the May riots of 1968 in Paris, a great number of graffiti comments on the events were documented.
Some of those appear in the central piece of the exhibition, Hale’s new three-channel slide projection work TAXI STOP FIJI. Like in the paper collages, personal and political elements are combined into a visual narrative less by concrete intention, but through associative linkage. Each slide is photographed in black-and-white: book pages, street views of Berlin and other cities, current newspapers, pictures from the 1970s. In Hale’s slide collage, all these elements are mixed in a dance of the subconscious, like a dream sequence. Hale’s principle of quoting reference materials according to spontaneous impulses, fragmenting aspects of reality and restructuring them, produces a multi-layered field of tension between balance and disruption of meaning.

Apart from TAXI STOP FIJI; there will also be a new slide sculpture from the series MIRIAM DIVORCE as well as the early sculpture The Age of Majority (1995), never exhibited before, and new paper collages.

Mathew Hale, born in 1962, lives and works in Berlin. His work is also currently being shown in the group exhibition Past-Forward at Project Space 176 in London (until 3 August 2008); and in the autumn of this year, he will have a solo show at Peer Trust, London.

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