MOSCOW.- Illusion and desire are central themes in Mat Collishaw's work, through which he questions and breaks down traditional perception of familiar images. Collishaw analyzes the influence of hidden mechanisms and visual techniques on the subconscious of the viewer. His work draws attention to the delicate balance between poetic romanticism and shocking, dark illusionism. The forbidden has always been a focus of Collishaw, I am fueled by things in my past which were suppressed or held at a distance, which have generated some form of hunger to make my work.
In Black Mirrors: St.Sebastian, Andromeda (2017), paintings by Niccolò Renieri and Vlaho Bukovac appear as ghosts in mirrors framed by black Murano glass. Animated figures come to life in a new form in front of the viewer, reproducing subjects of famous works and blurring the boundaries between the real world and the realm of classical painting.
The Albion (2017) is a projection of the famous oak tree in Sherwood Forest, Nottingham, said to have sheltered Robin Hood. The trunk of the thousand-year-old tree began to die a few centuries ago and since Victorian times it has been supported by complex steel structures. With a laser scan and the "Pepper's Ghost" technique, the projection of the oak appears as a living creature permanently captured by man to recreate the illusion of life.
All Things Fall (2014), a piece created for an exhibition in the Borghese Gallery in Rome, brings life to the biblical story of the extermination of babies in Bethlehem and is a reference to the painting The Massacre of the Innocents by Ippolito Scarsella. The zoetrope includes 300 separate figures and it is programmed to rotate at 60 revolutions per minute with LED lamps synchronized to flash 18 times per second. The figures themselves remain motionless. Rapid changes of frames along with flashes of light create the illusion of movement, the effect of "moving pictures". Art critic Waldemar Januszczak described the piece as "nothing less than a contemporary masterpiece". It is an optical illusion that draws the viewer in and renews questions about the oldest social conflicts.
Mat Collishaws works have been exhibited in numerous museums and public collections globally, including: Tate, London, Somerset House, London; Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, UK; Galleria Borghese, Rome; Pino Pascali Museum Foundation, Bari; Bass Museum of Art, Florida; Freud Museum, London; Galeria dArte Moderna, Bologna, Italy; Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville, Paris; The Brooklyn Museum, New York; Museo di Roma, Rome; MNAC, Barcelona; Arter Foundation, Istanbul; British Council Collection, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna, Torino; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Museum of Old and New Art, New South Wales; Olbricht Collection, Berlin.