Mat Collishaw At Festival Images Vevey, Switzerland

Mat Collishaw

Mat Collishaw’s works are part of Festival Images Vevey, an annual exhibition which sees the small town of Vevey, Switzerland transformed into the Swiss capital of photography.

Housed in the city’s historic Sainte-Claire Church and projected on a monumental scale, Collishaw’s work The End of Innocence flows between two digitally manipulated portraits of Pope Innocent X - one painted by Diego Velázquez in 1650 and its modern reinterpretation by Francis Bacon from 1953. The images continually dissolve and reform to create a striated image that is reminiscent of ‘digital rain’. Halfway between figuration and abstraction this hypnotic work evokes the superficiality of the images generated in an age when everything has become digitalised.

Also on view as part of the festival is In Camera, a work inspired by the Library of Birmingham’s renowned photography collections. Installed in the attic of the History Museum In Camera is based around a series of 12 crime scene negatives made for Birmingham City Police Force during the 1930s and 1940s. Collishaw discovered these uncatalogued images, made to provide evidence in alleged and actual crimes committed in the city, hidden amongst an archive of orphaned police negatives. Intermittent flash bulbs expose the images printed in phosphorescent ink and incarcerated in translucent vitrines. The scenes glow eerily in the darkness, as if lit for forensic analysis. Mundane depictions of empty rooms become charged by the illicit acts implied. The work prompts questions about the medium of photography, its historical role as witness and the ways in which our reading of images are affected when they shift from the private to the public.

Festival Images Vevey runs until 2 October 2016

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