Galerie Max Hetzler is pleased to announce an exhibition with photographs by John Hilliard at Bleibtreustrasse 45.
Since the late sixties John Hilliard's work has evolved by continually raising questions about the nature of photography as a representational medium, subjecting it to a critical examination of its shortcomings and unreliability while also celebrating its material specificity. Pictorial characteristics such as lighting, proportion and perspective and their realisation within photography build the basis of Hilliard's interest and are constantly challenged in his works. By emphasising the distinctions of photography in relation to other artistic media such as painting, drawing or sculpture he continues a dialogue on its position within contemporary visual arts.
The exhibition comprises a body of work made primarily between 2006 and 2015, complemented by a few earlier photographs from the 70's and 90's. Various themes and approaches are represented and thus allow an overview of the diversity of Hilliard's oeuvre. Works, such as Body Double, 2011, or Two Objects Of A Known Size, 2013, employ dual oppositions as an underlying structure and explore the impact of these components by experimenting with various lighting situations, different camera positions or scales. Hilliard hereby emphasises the distinct aspects of the medium as well as the conditions of image (re-)production and the relativity of the spectator's perception.
In the largest and most recent group of works selected details from an underlying image are greatly enlarged and placed over the background. Partly hiding certain parts of the background motif and thus eluding from the spectator's glimpse, the overlying squares also introduce a further image level. This method derived from an interest in constructing a single photographic space with greater variety than is normally offered. However – marking a recurring subject in Hilliard's work – there are again several oppositions in play, such as figuration and abstraction; the panchromatic and the monochrome; the analogue and the digital; photography and painting (or sculpture), together emphasising the ambivalence and complexity of this medium.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue.
John Hilliard (1945, Lancaster) lives and works in London. During his studies at the St Martin’s School of Art in London he was awarded a travel scholarship to the USA in 1965, and, influenced by the landscapes of the Mid-West and the architecture of New York and Chicago, began making site-specific installations. These were documented photographically, with the photographs gradually displacing the installations as a means of presentation and forming the basis of a first solo exhibition at Camden Arts Centre, London in 1969. His work has been presented in various exhibitions at institutions, such as The Royal Academy of Arts, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Folkwang Museum, Essen; Albertina Museum, Vienna; Staatsgalerie Stuttgart; Kunsthalle Krems; Kunstverein Hanover, Kunstmuseum Basel; Tate Britain, London, Kunsthalle Bremen, among others. Hilliard took part in the documenta 6, the São Paulo Bienal and the Paris Biennale.