“There would still remain the never-resting mind,
So that one would want to escape, come back
To what had been so long composed.
The imperfect is our paradise.
Note that, in this bitterness, delight,
Since the imperfect is so hot in us,
Lies in flawed words and stubborn sounds.”
The Poems of Our Climate, Wallace Stevens
Marian Goodman Gallery presents Matt Saunders’ first solo exhibition in London. Saunders’ practice connects painting, photography and printmaking to the moving image, heavily referencing film, the history of cinema and sometimes fiction. This exhibition is his fifth with the gallery.
In Poems of Our Climate, Saunders presents a series of new oil on chiffon paintings, copper-plate etchings and photographs, along with a large-scale animation installation. The exhibition largely represents Saunders’ continued interest in painting, exploring new techniques and manipulations of the medium. In his photography practice, Saunders uses a derivation of the photogram technique, a familiar and oft-used process for the artist. In this experimental and time-based image making process, he passes light through the fabric of painted linen, thus creating an ‘exposure’ onto photographic paper.
Ratios/Indomitable is a series of ten new large-scale etchings, printed from both the front and back of each copper plate, proposing pairings of conscious and unconscious images. Saunders’ work often quotes obscure, often tragic film muses and here he references the fictional film character Leni Peickert, created in the 1960s by the German film director Alexander Kluge. Each image features multiple-frames from Kluge’s collage-style, impressionistic films Artists in the Big Top: Perplexed and The Indomitable Leni Peickert.
The five-channel animation Townhouse (The Intricate Alps), which recently debuted at the Saint Louis Art Museum in Autumn 2017, is here re-imagined in a new configuration. The five synched screens, made of either plastic, linen or chiffon, are viewable from all angles with no deliberate fixed vantage point within the space. Often the projection overshoots the screen, spilling images onto the floor and walls. This largely abstract film is made of thousands of drawings made from ink or oil, collaged within a series of images produced by algorithms programmed entirely within the medium of video. The screens do not run independently of each other, however; throughout the vignette we see intermittent images moving across the channels in a choreography. Other narrative elements, again linked to cinema, reference Jane Birkin and Joe Dalessandro from Je t’aime moi non plus, Serge Gainsbourg’s 1976 film.
Matt Saunders was born in 1975 in Tacoma, Washington. He currently lives between Berlin and Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he teaches at Harvard University. In 1997, he received a BA in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard and completed his MFA in Painting and Printmaking in 2000 at the Yale University School of Art. In 2010 the Renaissance Society of Chicago organized his first solo institutional show, Parallel Plot. He also exhibited at the Tate Liverpool in 2012: Matt Saunders. Century Rolls.