Galerie Max Hetzler Paris presents an exhibition of recent works by Toby Ziegler. This is his second solo show at the Paris gallery.
Toby Ziegler investigates digital forms of images and ways of producing shapes. He is especially interested in the approximation that results from reproduction and decontextualisation of forms or pictorial spaces and has always taken interest in the slippage from the digital into the physical.
The works exhibited all refer to Henri Matisse’s work which had a strong influence on Toby Ziegler ever since his childhood, starting from Large Reclining Nude (1935) that blurred the lines between figuration and abstraction. The full-size figure with contrapposto in aluminium cast entitled Slave, which gave its name to the exhibition, was inspired by Matisse’s work Madeleine I (1901), although the title refers to Michelangelo’s Dying Slave from 1516.
Toby Ziegler drew inspiration from Matisse’s four bas-relief The Back Series to create his screen prints. The original sculptures depict a woman’s back on a monumental scale. Each work becomes gradually more abstract as Matisse successively carves the plaster.
Ziegler revels in the very physical acts of decomposing, distorting, and damaging the materials.
His practice often starts with the appropriation of an image that passes into our subconscious after endless reproduction. The images – which use canonical paintings as points of departure most of the time – are then digitally rendered into modular planes and altered.
The new sculptures on view that dialogue with the two-dimensional works result from more than three intensive years of experiments involving 3D printing processes. Ziegler initially resorts to 3D modelling software to create the polygon virtual structure and then introduces elements of distortion. After having printed the model onto cardboard sheets, a coiled clay version is created layer by layer by hand, echoing the logic of 3D printing.
Toby Ziegler investigates the pace of the artist’s gesture. The result of several meticulous weeks of work is rapidly disrupted by less deliberate actions. The distorted coiled clay sculptures show ruptures at times (referred to as “baroque flourishes” by the artist himself) that stand out from the even layers. Ziegler then scans the form with the help of a 3D device, digitally increases its scale to then print it with a 3D printer. The coils of the liquid plastic produced by the machine defy gravity before hardening, causing spaghetti-like disruptions that echo the ones in the initial forms in clay. The final aluminium casting reflects the disruptions and flourishes of the 3D printing process. The same shape is built, destroyed and remade, somewhere between manual and digital production, while the physical making of the digital forms erases the clear distinction between figuration and abstraction.
Toby Ziegler was born in 1972 in London where he studied at Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design. He currently lives and works in London. He has participated in numerous exhibitions including The Freud Museum, London (2017), New Art Centre, Salisbury (2017), The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield UK (2014); Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin (2013); off-site exhibition at a car park (Q- park 3-9, Old Burlington Street), London (2012); Zabludowicz Collection, London, travelled to New Art Gallery, Walsall, UK (2011), Zabludowicz Collection, Sarisalvo, Finland (2012) and Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helskinki (2012); Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai (2010); The State Ermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia (2009); Tate Britain, London (2007); Le Plateau, Paris (2006); Le Consortium, Dijon (2005). His work is part of major public and private collections such as The Arts Council (London); the British Council (UK); Tate Britain (London); Hudson Valley Centre for Contemporary Art (Peekskill, USA); Goss-Michael Foundation (Dallas); Kadist Art Foundation (Paris) and Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania (Australia).