Full Catalogue available from the Lisson Gallery
Falls the Shadow
Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.
Painting as sculpture, sculpture as painting. This dialogue forms one of the central debates within this exhibition. As Donald Judd argued in his famous essay on Specific Objects: “all paintings are spatial in one way or another … anything spaced in a rectangle and on a plane suggests something in and on something else, something in its surround, which suggests an object or figure in its space … that’s the main purpose of painting.” 2. On entering the Lisson Gallery we are confronted by the 3x3 meter cube of Behemoth, 2012, more than 2.6 meters high, made of 1.5 tons of virgin cork – that is cork from the tree’s first shedding – which has been coloured a deep dense black. Jason Martin has a studio in Portugal and spends a good deal of his time working there. Cork, therefore, is a familiar and vernacular material. 140 kilos of ivory black were suspended in a water based medium, with not much binder. As a result the pigment seems to vibrate on the surface of the cork, yet has also soaked into it to become an integral element. Built up in layers, like an interlocking pantile roof, this imperfect cube sits in the middle of the gallery floor like something burnt or charred. There is a suggestion of the alchemical and the transformative, of something elemental rising from the ashes. What is lightweight is given the illusion of heaviness. What appears to have been destroyed or damaged suggests the possibility of renewal. The form resonates with an interior life as fugitive light that is trapped within is filtered through the crevices to create a tension between the outer surface and the hidden interior. Here the language of painting and the language of sculpture coalesce.
Jason Martin Infinite at Lisson Gallery from 11 May to 23 June 2012
1 Harold Rosenberg (1906-1978) from: The American Action Painters. Originally published in Art News, LI, NY, Dec. 1952, pp.22ff. Reprinted in Rosenberg The Tradition of the New, NY, 1959.
2 Donald Judd (b.1928) ‘Specific Objects’. First published in Arts Yearbook, 8, NY, 1965, pp.74-82; reprinted in Judd Complete Writings 1959-1975, Halifax Nova Scotia, 1975.
Content and Texts © Sue Hubbard 2012
Images © Jason Martin 2012. Courtesy of Lisson Gallery