22.5. – 28.5. 2019
Brixton Beneficiary, London
Vanitas painting was a genre that anchored the pomp and majesty of the Baroque world tothe dark realities of existence. In these works, symbols of the fragility of life and theinevitability of death were juxtaposed with detailed descriptions of worldly possessions and material objects. Viewers were reminded of the transience of the physical world and the inevitability of death and it is these dark themes that lie at the core of this exhibition; transplanted into the contemporary world by four London based artists.
Hynek Martinec’s haunting daguerreotype of Zuzana reveals more than a mere record of reality. A face seemingly from another century, her soul trapped forever within the silver plate, we the viewer are able to see a moment of the past in the present and are at once reminded of the ephemerality of life. Eleonore Pironneau’s ritualistic works depict something more than the physical world around us. They are paintings that capture a dark spirituality, memorialising a ghost like other-worldliness that seems to overpower the surrounding reality with a magical aura. History, particularly the British regency period is the inspiration for Ben Ashton’s recent paintings. Hyperreal portraits of grandeur from this period merge with images of himself and his family. In the digital age of social media, these jarring paintings reference styles from our past to create disturbing investigations into how we record ourselves, and the futility of how we try to place ourselves within the context of history. Edward Sutcliffe’s work is a playful investigation between the real and the counterfeit. His detailed paintings act as an unreliable narrator exploring the blurred boundaries of reality showing us that an image no matter how beguiling will always be an untruth.
The exhibition exists in the present yet is deeply rooted to the past and in many ways explores common ground between the contemporary and Baroque eras.