14 MAY 2014 – 1 JULY 2014
Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present new works by British artist Toby Ziegler (b.1972), the artist’s first solo
exhibition in Hong Kong. Ziegler’s practice alludes to the degeneration of images and artefacts through processes of
technological reproduction and physical erosion. The works occupy and explore the field between formal
composition and its collapse, where shapes and patterns are disturbed by gestural smudges and sprays.
Confronting the idea of memory in an age of digital technology, Ziegler’s practice is rooted in art historical
representations that have been manipulated and re-interpreted.
His new body of work is concerned with the relationship between control and abandon, subjecting images to a
process of obliteration, in which representational pictorial information gives way to new abstract forms. Working
from Gainsborough source images, the exhibition includes five paintings. Of these there are two pairs of paintings
which, through a process of figurative and abstract experimentation, offer different iterations of the same image.
The oil on aluminium paintings are built up digitally and translated to painted, intricately worked landscapes until
they achieve a representative clarity before they are sabotaged. This is done while the paint is still wet with a cloth
pulled across the surface, obscuring the detailed arrangement of colour and form, or when the paint is dry, with an
orbital sander rubbed into the surface to rupture the skin of paint and reveal the metal beneath. The disturbance of
the surface and rupture of the image of the painted field breaks the illusion of coherent space. This approach can
be seen as an unusual form of pentimenti: rather than disclosing the attempt to perfect or adjust a composition,
these paintings revel in its dissolution.
In the pair of aluminium sculptures, information has similarly been lost and added through interpretation. Like the
paintings, their genesis is based on translation but here Ziegler has conjured a bulbous sculpture of thin, tessellated
aluminium triangles from a two-dimensional source. Although they are versions of the same form, one sculpture is
crushed almost flat, as though constructed of a material that cannot hold its own weight and has been arrested in a
collapsed state. Abandoning the traditional plinth and fashioned from aluminium thin enough to reveal indentations
from the making process, the sculpture breathes with a life of its own.
The mutable nature of the works in the exhibition emphasize the expressive materiality of Ziegler’s practice in
which the organic is locked in step with the industrial. Here a process led approach to construction is contrasted
within the same work by efforts to damage and deconstruct as a means to make work.
Toby Ziegler (b. 1972) studied at Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design, and lives and works in London. He
has forthcoming solo exhibitions at Hepworth Wakefield and New Art Centre at Roche Court Sculpture Park.
Previous solo exhibitions include The Cripples, at Old Burlington car park, London (2012); The Alienation of Objects,
Zabludowicz Collection, London and Sarisalvo, Finland, New Art Gallery, Walsall and Museum of Contemporary Art
Kiasma, Helsinki (2011-2012); Gold, Belvedere, Vienna (2012); The Future Demands Your Participation, Minsheng
Art Museum, Shanghai (2010); Newspeak: British Art Now, The State Hermitage, St. Petersburg and The Saatchi
Gallery, London (2009-2010); Hamsterwheel, initiated by Franz West, Malmö Konsthall (2008); Recent Abstraction,
British Art Displays 1500-2007 at Tate Britain, London (2007). His work is part of major private and public
collections including The Arts Council of England; The British Council; Tate Britain; Saatchi Gallery; François Pinault
Foundation; Zabludowicz Collection; Goss-Michael Foundation; Kadist Art Foundation; British Airways Collection;
Hudson Valley Centre for Contemporary Art and Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania.