Exhibitions

Fractured: How the early Cubist movement influenced photography

All images © the artist, from the group exhibition Fractured, courtesy Simon Lee Gallery

A new group exhibition explores one of modernism’s most characteristic formal strategies, the fracturing of the picture plane, at Simon Lee Gallery in Hong Kong.

Around one hundred years ago, artists like Picasso and Braque began to explore the possibility of the representation of three dimensional space in a two dimensional plane.

By “splitting the picture plane” by means of formal fault lines, so was born the new syntax of Cubism, an aesthetic theory that still influences contemporary artists.

This exhibition, at Simon Lee Gallery in Hong Kong, and with works by artists represented by the gallery, alongside invited artists will explore this idea – “how the simultaneous presentation of multiple viewpoints, and opened the door to abstraction.”

The exhibition focuses particularly on: “The point of slippage between figuration and abstraction, placing figurative compositions which use the strategy of a fractured picture plane alongside works which employ it as a tool in the development of a formal language in a completely abstract context.”

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The exhibition includes photographs by the conceptual artist John Stezaker, who creates a tension of opposites with arrangements of line and form.

Stezaker’s The Double Shadow series transforms photographs through alterations, deletions, inversions and juxtapositions, resulting in images with an unsettling allure.

The exhibition also includes images by iconic Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama, who redefined the medium of photography while chronicling the social and political turmoil of post-war Japan. His rough, blurred aesthetic experiments with light, shade and abstraction while allowing for photographic chance.

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The exhibition includes the work of Toby Ziegler, who sources images of Old Master paintings, before putting them through a process of digital manipulation and physical dissolution. Once the image is built-up to full completion, Ziegler starts removing the paint again, grinding it off with an electric sander to reveal the metal beneath.

The work simultaneously builds up and strips back shimmering layers of paint on a scarred and polished aluminium ground, creating a work that hovers between abstraction and figuration.

Lastly, the exhibition includes Louise Lawler’s photographs, which “registers the incidental, undermining the economy of attention and dislocating hierarchies. Her disparate arrangements on a single plane are a movement of disconnections and variations that bring forward what is hidden. Lawler questions how we subscribe to traditional modes of production and places of functioning through suggestive relationships, poetic ambiguities and fractured harmonies.”

Fractured continues until 2 July 2016 at Simon Lee Gallery, Hong Kong.