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Seams & Interruptions

11/21 2013 – 12/21 2013

Mendes Wood DM is pleased to announce Seams and Interruptions, British artist John Stezaker’s first solo exhibition in Brazil. The show brings together over 20 new works from his Masks, Marriage, Tabula Rasa and Film Still Collage series.

Stezaker bought his first film still in 1973 and has spent the subsequent four decades working in the thrall of found photographs. Through a process of insertion akin to collage, he adapts a base image with a second image, creating sometimes subtle, sometimes overt juxtapositions of meaning and imagetic legibility. The transformative effect of this juxtaposition lies in a soft patterning of concealment and revelation – what is withheld in the covered images is supplied or disguised in another.

He does this to great effect in the Masks series where portraits of movie stars are overlaid with natural vistas. The faces missing details are supplied to the faintest extent by the contours of a tree (a nose) or a riverbed (the hollow of an eye) drawn together by the viewer’s unconscious mind into a countenance at once recognizable and implausible. Stezaker’s placement of grotto or a moonlit loch just so over the identifiable features of the actors is calibrated with a sense of humor that recalls Surrealist experimentations with images, but also seems to draw on older Romanticist notions of the natural world and the sublime.

In the Tabula Rasa series, Stezaker excises neat white volumes from scenes of action, obscuring the center of the narrative. Curiously, this omission of visual information raises an endless number of possible scenarios exciting the viewer into state of deduction. The human mind is restless in the face of mystery – and Stezaker’s careful decentering of images provokes agitation. His images somehow seem like our own, borrowed from a memory teeming with fragmented, half-obscure impressions. At their greatest, his pictures resist apprehension, seemingly autonomous, like the indelible dream image that once presented to our conscious mind never lifts it mark.

John Stezaker was born in 1949 in England. Recent solo shows include: John Stezaker: One on One, Tel-Aviv Museum of Art, Israel (2013); The Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2011) then touring to MUDAM, Luxembourg, and Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis, USA (2012); The Nude and Landscape, curated by Sid Sachs, University of The Arts, Philadelphia, USA (2011); Lost Images, Kunstverein Freiburg, Germany; Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago (2010); Tabula Rasa, The Approach, London, UK (2010); Friedrich Petzel, New York (2009); GAK, Bremen (2009); A Palazzo Gallery, Brescia (2008); Marriages, Karsten Schubert, London (2007); John Stezaker, The Rubell Family Collection (2007). Recent group shows include: Taj Mahal Travellers, Galerie Nordenhake, Stockholm (2009); The Quick and The Dead, Walker Art Gallery, Minneapolis (2009); Source Codes, Sprüth Magers, Berlin (2009); Le sang d’un poète, FRAC des Pays de la Loire (2009); Collage: The Unmonumental Picture, New Museum, New York (2008); Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art, Barbican Art Gallery, London (2008); Past-Forward, 176, The Zabludowicz Collection, London (2008).

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