Gagosian Gallery Hong Kong
Through Saturday, August 16, 2014, 7pm HKT
Gagosian Hong Kong is pleased to present recent paintings by Michael Craig-Martin.
A principal figure of British conceptual art, Craig-Martin probes the relationship between objects and images, harnessing the human capacity to imagine absent forms through symbols and pictures. The perceptual tension between object, representation, and language has been his central concern over the past four decades. During the late 1970s, he began to transcribe everyday items into “pictorial readymades” directly onto gallery walls, and since the 1990s onto canvas in conjunction with vivid artificial color. His drawings, paintings, and monumental steel sculptures are representations in the truest sense of the word, conveying familiar subjects as concisely as possible and thereby inviting each viewer’s personal response.
Recent paintings on aluminum panels, some larger than two meters square, depict a new range of contemporary objects—a high-heeled shoe, a disposable coffee cup, an energy-saving lightbulb—in an electric palette tinged with neon blues, greens, and pinks. The simplest object can become iconic. The amplified archetypes may lure the viewer into associations with his or her own corkscrew, headphones, or prescription pills. Continuing to resist any elaboration of form, Craig-Martin allows himself absolute chromatic freedom, casting the line-drawn silhouettes—which he draws digitally, then executes using paint rollers and thin tape—against vivid backgrounds of turquoise or purple. The selected colors disrupt the usual identity of the explicitly described objects, as in a subtly self-referential painting of a standard paint roller suspended in a magenta picture plane. “The drawings are as precisely like the thing as I can make them, and the color is as artificial as I can make it,” Craig-Martin has said. In this way, he uses color to “subvert” the image.