Mikhael Subotzky / Show 'n Tell / 2014

Mikhael Subotzky / Show 'n Tell / 2014
16 August - 13 September 2014
Installation View
Mikhael Subotzky
Sibidla Autostereogram Cycle, 2014
Single-channel HD video

Mikhael Subotzky
Pixel Interface, 2013
Perspex screen, three custom steel tables, three television screens, three custom-made micro- scopes, objectives, microscope cameras, projectors, cables

Mikhael Subotzky
Jacaranda, Wicklow Avenue (1324), 2014
Pigment print on Baryta paper, mounted to dibond and diasec
219 x 157 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Christopher Sibidla's Body, Maitland Morgue (0038), 2004
Number three in a set of five identical Inkjet prints, framed and mounted on Dibond, with face-mounted toughened glass smashed by the artist
Work: 50 x 75 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Sticky-tape Transfer 01, Haunted Memories, 2014
Pigment inks, dirt and J-Lar tape on cotton paper
290 x 240 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Self-Portrait with Wheat Pieta, 2002
Two CRT televisions, two DVD players, three plinths, two single-frame digital videos, Jelutong carving
Dimensions variable
Mikhael Subotzky
'n Tell (1330), 2014
Pigment print on Baryta paper, mounted to dibond and diasec
Work: 100 x 73 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Sticky-tape Transfer 04, South African Panorama 1981, 2014
Pigment inks, dirt, white-out tape and J-Lar tape on cotton paper
131 x 185 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Time (1317), 2014
Pigment print on Baryta paper, mounted to dibond and diasec
Work: 240 x 30 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Sticky-tape Transfer 06, Aircraft of the South African Airforce, 1980, 2014
Pigment inks, dirt, found images, and J-Lar tape on cotton paper
157 x 205 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Show (1329), 2014
Pigment print on Baryta paper, mounted to dibond and diasec
Work: 100 x 73 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Verdaille II: After Christopher Sibidla, 2014
Five inkjet prints in custom walnut triptych frame, two autostereograms. Two in an edition of three variations with two artist proofs
181cm x 168cm (Closed), 181cm x 336cm (Open)
Mikhael Subotzky
Cradle (1305), 2014
Pigment print on Baryta paper, mounted to dibond and diasec
Work: 160 x 216 cm Image: 133.5 x 192.5 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Breakdown, Houghton(1308), 2014
Pigment print on Baryta paper, mounted to dibond and diasec
Image: 133 x 192.5 cm Work: 160 x 216 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
What Keeps the Earth in Orbit (1312), 2014
Pigment print on Baryta paper, mounted to dibond and diasec
Work: 240.5 x 30 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Sticky-tape Transfer 03, South African Mosaic 1978 / A Banking Centinary 1836-1936, 2014
Pigment inks, dirt and J-Lar tape on cotton paper
213 x 185 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Eagle, Magaliesberg (1307), 2014
Pigment print on Baryta paper, mounted to dibond and diasec
Image: 82 x 56 cm Work: 100 x 73 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Sticky-tape Transfer 02, South Africa, Strength Through Diversity 1982, 2014
Pigment inks, white-out tape, fine-liner, dirt and J-Lar tape on cotton paper
131 x 213 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Head, Houghton (1306), 2014
Pigment print on Baryta paper, mounted to dibond and diasec
Image: 82 x 57 cm Work: 100 x 73 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
A Trip Around the Sun (1311), 2014
Pigment print on Baryta paper, mounted to dibond and diasec
Work: 240.5 x 30 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Sticky-tape Transfer 05, South Africa, Strength Through Diversity 1982, 2014
Pigment inks, dirt, fine-liner, permanent marker, white-out tape, gauze tape, found photographs, Indian ink and J-Lar tape on cotton paper
121 x 147 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Sticky-tape Transfer 11, Jacaranda, 2014
Pigment inks and J-Lar tape on cotton paper, custom walnut frame
71 x 178 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Sticky-tape Transfer 09, South African Mosaic, 1978, 2014
Pigments inks, white-out tape, dirt, and J-Lar tape on cotton paper
130.5 x 187 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Sticky-tape Transfer 10, After Bosch, 2014
Pigment inks, white-out tape and dirt on cotton paper
111.5 x 195 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Hiawatha (1316), 2014
Pigment print on Baryta paper, mounted to dibond and diasec
Work: 240.5 x 30 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Sticky-tape Transfer 08, Floor Piece (1320), 2014
Indian ink, coffee, grated book cover, honey, ash, dirt, gaffer’s tape, found images and J-Lar tape on cotton paper
169.5 x 129.5 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Aladdin (1310), 2014
Pigment print on Baryta paper, mounted to dibond and diasec
Work: 240.5 x 30 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Alice in Wonderland (1309), 2014
Pigment print on Baryta paper, mounted to dibond and diasec
Work: 240.5 x 30 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Black Beauty (1318), 2014
Pigment print on Baryta paper, mounted to dibond and diasec
Work: 240.5 x 30 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Oliver Twist (1314), 2014
Pigment print on Baryta paper, mounted to dibond and diasec
240 x 30 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Robinson Crusoe (1313), 2014
Pigment print on Baryta paper, mounted to dibond and diasec
Work: 240.5 x 30 cm
Mikhael Subotzky
Prince & the Pauper (1315), 2014
Pigment print on Baryta paper, mounted to dibond and diasec
Work: 240.5 x 30 cm

Mikhael Subotzky / Show 'n Tell / 2014 - Installation View

16 August - 13 September 2014

Mikhael Subotzky

Sibidla Autostereogram Cycle

Mikhael Subotzky

Pixel Interface

Mikhael Subotzky

Jacaranda, Wicklow Avenue (1324)

Mikhael Subotzky

Christopher Sibidla's Body, Maitland Morgue (0038)

Mikhael Subotzky

Sticky-tape Transfer 01, Haunted Memories

Mikhael Subotzky

Self-Portrait with Wheat Pieta

Mikhael Subotzky

'n Tell (1330)

Mikhael Subotzky

Sticky-tape Transfer 04, South African Panorama 1981

Mikhael Subotzky

Time (1317)

Mikhael Subotzky

Sticky-tape Transfer 06, Aircraft of the South African Airforce, 1980

Mikhael Subotzky

Show (1329)

Mikhael Subotzky

Verdaille II: After Christopher Sibidla

Mikhael Subotzky

Cradle (1305)

Mikhael Subotzky

Breakdown, Houghton(1308)

Mikhael Subotzky

What Keeps the Earth in Orbit (1312)

Mikhael Subotzky

Sticky-tape Transfer 03, South African Mosaic 1978 / A Banking Centinary 1836-1936

Mikhael Subotzky

Eagle, Magaliesberg (1307)

Mikhael Subotzky

Sticky-tape Transfer 02, South Africa, Strength Through Diversity 1982

Mikhael Subotzky

Head, Houghton (1306)

Mikhael Subotzky

A Trip Around the Sun (1311)

Mikhael Subotzky

Sticky-tape Transfer 05, South Africa, Strength Through Diversity 1982

Mikhael Subotzky

Sticky-tape Transfer 11, Jacaranda

Mikhael Subotzky

Sticky-tape Transfer 09, South African Mosaic, 1978

Mikhael Subotzky

Sticky-tape Transfer 10, After Bosch

Mikhael Subotzky

Hiawatha (1316)

Mikhael Subotzky

Sticky-tape Transfer 08, Floor Piece (1320)

Mikhael Subotzky

Aladdin (1310)

Mikhael Subotzky

Alice in Wonderland (1309)

Mikhael Subotzky

Black Beauty (1318)

Mikhael Subotzky

Oliver Twist (1314)

Mikhael Subotzky

Robinson Crusoe (1313)

Mikhael Subotzky

Prince & the Pauper (1315)

Goodman Gallery Cape Town
16 August – 13 September 2014

Show ‘n Tell at Goodman Gallery Cape Town presents a number of new works by Mikhael Subotzky, alongside a work that he made over ten years ago. At the heart of the exhibition is the psychological disparity between what it means to “show” something, and what is implied in “telling” about it. This subject has been central to Subotzky’s work, to varying degrees, since graduating from The University of Cape Town in 2004.

Pixel Interface (2013) forms the centre-piece of Show ‘n Tell. This large-scale video installation was first realised at the Musée MAC/VAL after Subotzky spent the summer on residency at the Paris museum. “_Pixel Interface_ magnifies and combines a single line of pixels from three video plinths,” explains Subotzky. “I built three microscopes to subject the television screens themselves to scrutiny, turning their images into the abstraction of red, green and blue pixels. The first video plinth plays documentation of the famous 1967 Hubel and Wiesel experiment, which detected the firing of an individual neuron in the retina of a cat. It presents the abstract lines and shapes that were shown to the cat in proving that the neuron responds to the orientation of movement, fundamentally changing our understanding of the mechanics of vision. The second video plinth plays an animation that I downloaded from the Internet and adapted by adding censoring white lines, which accumulate as the video plays, covering the various instruments of violence in the video. The third video plinth plays an adapted version of an earlier work titled Don’t even think of it (2012). I have also censored this stop-motion video by covering the eyes of every person in it, and letting these white lines accumulate to the point of abstracting the video.

The microscope on top of each video plinth feeds directly into a digital microscope camera, and in turn into an HD projector. The three projectors throw the three magnified video feeds onto a projection screen. A 33% overlap on each projection allows some of the magnified RGB pixels to mix new colours which constantly change and flicker in real-time as the videos on the plinths play.

Pixel Interface is in part a tribute and update to Paul Sharits’ seminal work Shutter Interface (1975). As Shutter Interface did with the mechanics of film projection, Pixel Interface attempts to represent the base particles and motion of digital video. In so doing, it also seeks to define both a counterpoint and a contradiction between the realms of abstraction and representational violence.”

Pixel Interface is presented here next to a work that Subotzky made in 2002. Self-Portrait with Wheat Pieta presents two identical video self-portraits on CRT screens, which both scrutinise a carved wooden maquette, and also provide the illumination for it. These two works book-end ten years of photographic work, which is represented here by five large-format photographs made between 2010 and 2014. Consistent with Subotzky’s recent attempts to understand the surface and materiality of photographs in relation to their representational content, several of these photographs deliberately include the errors of light leaks that derive from the process of their making. These are interspersed with recent experiments with new formal tools such as 3-D Autostereograms (Magic Eye), Sticky Tape transfers, and a traditional walnut triptych that was also made while on residency in Paris.

Show ‘n Tell builds on the concerns of my previous body of work, Retinal Shift. I’m interested in situations where two opposing things can both be true, or at least coexist. And I’m interested in the psychology of this, the psychological need to split those things off from one another,” Subotzky explained in an interview with Valérie Labayle of Musée MAC/VAL. “In Show ‘n Tell this plays out largely in the relationship between abstraction and representation. Of course, artists have been interested in optical illusions almost for as long as artworks have been made. My interest in this is specif¬ic to my experience. Autostereograms were a popular craze of the 1990s when I was a kid. So on the one hand they are a historical illustration of my early visual experiences of duality. But they are also interesting in relation to vision. The 3-D image that one ‘sees’ in the autostereogram doesn’t exist on our retinas. It is created entirely in our brains as a result of a repeated pattern, which takes advantage of our binocular vision in order to trick the brain into seeing three-dimensional form. Part of trying to understand how two opposing things can both be true is necessarily about the nature of truth itself, and thus about perception, memory and ontology too. This is why the imagery in Show ‘n Tell, both abstract and representational, draws from a wide range of scientific and mythological sources – two realms where truth and the nature of reality are thought about and contested.”

Mikhael Subotzky’s work has been exhibited and collected by venues such as The Museum of Modern Art in New York, The South African National Gallery in Cape Town and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He has received, amongst others, the 2012 Standard Bank Young Artist Award, The 2012 Discovery Award at Arles, the 2009 Oskar Barnack Award and the 2008 ICP Infinity Award.

Mikhael Subotzky

Mikhael Subotzky (b. 1981, Cape Town) is a Johannesburg based artist whose works in multiple mediums (including film installation, video, photography, collage and painting) attempt to engage critically with the instability of images and the politics of representation. Subotzky has exhibited in a series of important international exhibitions, including most recently Inheritance: Recent Video Art from Africa at the Fowler Museum (UCLA) in Los Angeles (2019) and Ex Africa in various venues in Brazil (2017-18). His award-winning Ponte City project (co-authored with Patrick Waterhouse) was presented at Art Basel Unlimited in 2018. The full exhibition and archive of this project has since been acquired by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and will be the subject of a monographic exhibition there in the fall of 2020.

Subotzky’s work is collected widely by international institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Solomon R Guggenheim Museum (New York), the National Gallery of Art (Washington), Tate (London), Centre Pompidou (Paris), and the South African National Gallery, among others.

Subotzky’s work was included in the Lubumbashi (2013) and Liverpool (2012) biennials. Pixel Interface, a multi-component video installation, was included in All The World’s Futures, curated by Okwui Enwezor at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015).