The work of 118 international artists feature at an exhibition at Transition Gallery entitled (detail), ranging from the well established to recent graduates. But instead of showing each work in its entirety, there is instead a close-up photograph of each work. The result is overwhelming, frustrating and innovative in equal measure.
The Andrew Bracey-curated exhibition originally launched at the H-Project Space in Bangkok, with all the artworks fitting around the unique, distinctive woodwork of the Thai house.
Bracey says that he liked the idea of the space dictating the images, adding: “I hope it has a very different identity, look and focus in each gallery.” Transition Gallery is certainly a different type of space, which means the prints fill the walls as a grid, like a schizophrenic quilt of contemporary art.
Details and fragments have always interested Bracey. “Going close is vital to my painting and viewing process and I have always been interested in how different things can be noticed by not focusing on the bigger view,” he says. He cites Gerhard Richter as an influence, noting that “his paintings appear to be details of a wider view or picture” – an influence played out in this exhibition.
The panels vary wildly in style and feeling. The placement of the works was random – artists’ names were pulled out of a hat. This feeling of experimentation and spontaneity is exciting. As the viewer is confronted by so many different styles, ideas, harmonies and contradictions, visiting the space is overwhelming and interesting in equal measure.
The norm at exhibitions is for visitors to view paintings from distance and move on, so it is refreshing to see the medium in a different way. Bracey is interested in the little brushstrokes and minute details of these close-ups.
Paintings by Enzo Marro, David Dipré and Fabian Marcaccio’s show these individual brushstrokes in forensic detail. The context of the entire work is not lost; a new meaning is born. There is a beauty to these images that recalls the work of Frank Auerbach.
Not all the prints work as close-ups, but this doesn’t detract from the whole. The ideas at play and the contradictions and range of images make this exhibition worth a visit. Bracey believes the idea of focusing is vital today, as it enables new things to arise and trickle out of what already surrounds us.
(detail) is at Transition Gallery, Unit 25a Regent Studios, 8 Andrews Road, E8 4QN until 12 October.