Mat Collishaw (1966, Nottingham, England). Lives and works in London.
Mat Collishaw is a key figure in the history of British contemporary art. He is one of the founders and leaders of the Young British Artists movement.
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.”
Collishaw often refers to the work of old masters. Most of his works contain references to historical themes and classical techniques of portraying nature, characteristic of the culture of a given era. Borrowed images are digitally processed and appear in a new interpretation of the relationship between representation and reality.
Collishaw’s interest in the Victorian era is no coincidence: 19th century Britain viewed itself as a leader in scientific progress and empirical soberness. Referring to this period in his works, Collishaw imitates its ornamental, romantic style, but at the same time sheds light on society’s darker side, where base instincts are inherent in man regardless of the time period or of aesthetic or scientific advancement. His interest in this era is also associated with the study of the early Victorian technique used to create optical illusions. With the help of spectral projections, innovative photography techniques, and zoetropes invented in the early days of the Victorian era, Collishaw recreates effects that underlay pre-cinematic animation.
“My desire is to show the viewer how the time in which we live affects our perception of the world around us. These days, it’s difficult to slow down and absorb imagery of the past. Over time, our perception of paintings changes, not only because they become iconic, but because the media around us has totally changed. We don’t generally stand around looking at a picture that’s not moving, because it’s not that interesting compared to what else is on offer. I’m trying to reintroduce the concept of time to these works, to prompt the viewer to look at each of them a little longer and thus immerse themselves in the history of each picture.”
Mat Collishaw’s works have been exhibited in numerous museums and public collections globally, including:
Tate, London, UK
Somerset House, London, UK
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, UK
Galleria Borghese, Rome, Italy
Pino Pascali Museum Foundation, Polignano a Mare, Italy
Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, USA
Freud Museum, London, UK
Galeria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna, Italy
Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville, Paris, France
The Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA
Museo di Roma, Rome, Italy
MNAC, Barcelona, Spain
Arter Foundation, Istanbul, Turkey
British Council Collection, London, UK
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna, Torino, Italy
Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, USA
Museum of Old and New Art, New South Wales, Australia
Olbricht Collection, Berlin, Germany