Print Publisher's Spotlight of Alan Cristea Gallery's recent editions by
IDRIS KHAN and CORNELIA PARKER
February 6 - March 12, 2016
Barbara Krakow Gallery is presenting a print publisher’s spotlight of recent publications by Alan Cristea Gallery. We will have, available to be seen, the five new Platinum-Palladium prints by Idris Khan that make up his “London” series and an exhibition of the twenty-one polymer photogravure etchings that make up Cornelia Parker’s ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver (Exposed)’.
During 1988 and 1989, Cornelia Parker created ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’, a work consisting of over a thousand flattened silver objects (including plates, spoons, candlesticks, trophies, cigarette cases, teapots and trombones). The objects were all flattened by a steamroller at the artist’s request. She then arranged the objects into thirty circular groups, all of which were suspended about a foot from the floor by many thin wires. The title of the work refers to the biblical story of how Judas turned on Jesus in return for thirty pieces of silver. When the work was exhibited in the Hayward Gallery’s British Art Show of 1990, Parker commented on the work in the exhibition catalogue by saying, “Silver is commemorative; the objects are landmarks in people’s lives. I wanted to change their meaning, their visibility, their worth; that is why I flattened them, consigning them all to the same fate. As a child I used to crush coins on a railway track – you couldn’t spend the money afterwards but you kept the metal slivers for their own sake, as an imaginative currency and as physical proof of the destructive powers of the world. I find the pieces of silver have much more potential when their meaning as everyday objects has been eroded. ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’ is about materiality and then about anti-matter. In the gallery, the ruined objects are ghostly levitating just above the floor, waiting to be reassessed in the light of their transformation. The title, because of its biblical references, alludes to money, to betrayal, to death and resurrection: more simply it is a literal description of the piece.”
Parker has since made many other works involving silver. The value and meaning of silver, as well as its physical properties, have been a source of continual fascination for her. She has said that this is “because it is the most reflective metal that exists and [it] also has the ability to be the opposite very dull and black, it has the plus and minus in one material. Also linguistically in terms of the use of silver in language, ‘silver tongued’, ‘silver lining’. It has a very poetic aura around it, it’s used in mirrors in which we see ourselves and in telescopes to look at the universe ... It’s part of our cultural make-up somehow; it has all kinds of ways of being in the world. Metals, in general, I love, but I think that silver is my favorite”.
Parker continues this exploration of silver with the work in the current exhibition by using a group of found glass photographic negatives of antique silverware, originally produced for a 1960's Spink auction catalogue. Parker explains: “About 20 odd years ago, on an expedition down Brick Lane Sunday market, I came across these amazing 10”-12" glass photographic negatives of silverware that had been taken in the 60s for a Spink’s auction catalogue. I never really knew what to do with them and the boxes of plates were just languishing in the studio gathering dust. Here’s me squashing silver and there they are, the negatives, another kind of flattened silver sitting dormant in their glassine sleeves. Then when I started focusing on glass objects, and thinking more and more about Henry Fox Talbot, I remembered them. They were found objects too, so rather than using them as a photographic glass plate to print from, I focused on the physicality of the actual plate itself. With photogravure we are using a technique where you get a positive image of the negative, so they still remain negative and you get them encased in their glassine bags with all their wrinkles, tears and moirés. They also bear the scribbled notes the photographer made about what their exposure should be. There are three layers of time in the prints: the age of the antique objects, the 1960s when the photographic negatives were taken, and the present, when they are being made into photogravures. Some of the glass negatives are broken which leads to double exposures.”
Cornelia Parker has a a forthcoming site-specific installation in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Roof Garden. She has had solo shows at the British Library in London, Whitechapel Gallery in London, Museo De Arte de Lima in Peru, Two Rooms in Auckland, Galleria d’Arte Moderna Contemporanea in Bergamo, Fundacion PRO in Buenos Aires, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter in Oslo, The Institute for the Readjustment of Clocks in Istanbul, Kunsthaus in Zurich, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, The Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art in Beijing, The Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth, Württembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart, Galleria Civica D’Arte Moderna in Turin, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, The Arts Club of Chicago, Aspen Art Museum in Colorado, among numerous other places. Her list of inclusions in museums’ groups shows is extensive and her inclusion in public collections include the British Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Fundacio La Caixa, Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Museum of Modern Art in New York, Centre Pompidou, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tate, Victoria and Albert Museum and Yale Center for British Art, among many others.
As for Idris Khan, he is most known for rephotographing or scanning from secondary source material – sheet music, pages from the Qur’an, reproductions of late Caravaggio paintings – that he then layers digitally, a process that lets him control subtle details in contrast, brightness and opacity. The resulting works are more painterly than photographic.
Idris Khan’s London series was initially conceived in 2012 in response to a commission from the New York Times Magazine. For the project, he selected a group of London architectural landmarks, each one an intrinsic part of the capital city, indelibly bound to its fabric and history. The final images are an amalgam of between 70-100 layers of photographs of the same subject; sometimes using the whole image and at other times particular fragments, Khan worked with a variety of source material dating from the 1930’s onwards, which included stock photographs as well as mass-produced tourist postcards. By a complex process of assembling and erasing he built up a pictorial palimpsest, stretched over time, which captured the essence of each iconic structure.
In order to realize these pieces as editions, Khan has chosen to use the Platinum-Palladium process. The technique is a hybrid of a photographic printing method first developed in the late 19th century and uses the salts of Platinum and Palladium. The process allows for a very distinctive and subtle tonal range, more so than is possible with silver gelatin prints, with a greater degree of colour variance between pure black and pure white. The result is a deeper, richer image with a greater emphasis on detail. The prints were made with the leading Platinum workshop - 31 Studio in Gloucestershire.
Khan lives and works in London, England. He has had solo exhibitions at international venues including the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto, K20 in Dusseldorf and Gothenburg Konsthall in Sweden. He has also been featured in numerous group exhibitions at venues including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Tate Britain, Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton in Paris, Baibakov Art Projects in Moscow, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Helsinki Kunsthalle in Finland.
The works by both Idris Khan and Cornelia Parker can be viewed in person at the gallery and also online.
For Khan’s works, go to http://www.barbarakrakowgallery.com/idris-khan. For Parker’s works, go to http://www.barbarakrakowgallery.com/cornelia-parker-event-2016.
The phone number to call is +1 617 262 4490 and one can also email us at Info@barbarakrakowgallery.com with any questions.