Toby Ziegler: Pronk

25 March - 14 May 2022

Simon Lee Gallery, Hong Kong is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Toby Ziegler, in which the artist continues his analysis of the compression of time into painting and the speed of making and unmaking an image.

For this exhibition, Ziegler brings together eight new paintings that find their origin in the 17th century still life tradition, from the works of Flemish master Jan Brueghel the Elder and the German artist Abraham Mignon. Ziegler’s attraction to the vanitas theme lies in its power to express a moment frozen in time while nonetheless emphasising its fragility, thereby articulating a sense of duration.

Ziegler’s still life paintings are at first glance recognisable as the historical paintings they reference, however on closer inspection, areas of the substrate – aluminium or pink gesso – interrupt the picture plane. Using an orbital sander to efface the surface of the panel, Ziegler directly contrasts the time-consuming process of figurative painting with the rapidity of erasure. Yet these works give themselves to the viewer very slowly, compressing time, from the facture of the source painting and its ensuing life span to Ziegler’s own reincarnation of the image.

In these new paintings, the artist walks the line between representation and abstraction, collapsing narrative and pictorial space and dismantling chronological time.