Mat Collishaw

15 January - 13 March 2005

Mat Collishaw

Mat Collishaw: "Who killed cock robin?", 1997, digital (Lambda) print

This exhibition brought together, for the first time, some sixteen works made by Mat Collishaw, selected by the artist for Inverleith House. It included much recent work and new work made especially for the exhibition. This exhibition was his largest exhibition to date and his first solo show in Scotland. Collishaw exhibited previously at the garden during The Britsih Art Show 4 (1995) in the company of other artists of his generation; Anya Gallaccio, Douglas Gordon and Damien Hirst - with whom he studied at Goldsmiths college in London and collaborated in the 1988 docklands exhibition Freeze which was the starting point for what was to become the phenomenon 'Brit Art'.

Collishaw's art has followed a distinctive course, combining sentiments of tenderness and brutality in equal measures and in ways which are visually seductive but which also bring into question commonly accepted or sterotypical views of the world. 

Most of the works combined a number of references: in the series Infectious Flowers (room 6) for example, the photo-manipulated image of an orchid combines images of human diseases with real images of the plant - alluding to the power of generic manipulation; whilst the 'flower' was seen in a sexual or menacing rather than decorative light - its role to attract and briefly trap insects and effect pollination. In The Lotus Eaters (room 7), Tennyson's tale (in which people gradually lose interest in life and turn to eating leaves of the lotus plant to induce a euphoric state) takes the form of a kitsch artifical pond containing video footage of drug-addicted prostitutes on the street in London near the artist's home. The large mosaic Colony (room 4) also made for the exhibition, out of 55,000 mosaic tiles, was a heavily pixellated image of a pile of hooded prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison camp in Iraq which was broadcast by news services worldwide. In this, Collishaw alluded to the origins of mosaics in Persia and the artefacts now brought home during wartime consisting of images rather than objects.

Throughout the exhibition one was constantly drawn into a world which was not as it at first appeared, and questions about the role of the artist were never far away. 



The Comb, 2001 Video projection, vanity mirror, table
When he comes, 2001 Video projection, furniture, glass ball and stand
I like to get my loving while I've got it on my mind, 2001 Video projection, screen


Burning Flower 1, 2004 Digital (Lambda) print
Burning Flower 2
, 2004 Digital (Lambda) print
Burning Flower 3, 2004 Digital (Lambda) print
Beast in me, 2003 Digital (Lambda) print


Barbarossa, 2000 Video projection


Colony, 2005 Mosaic tiles


Asylum, 2001/2002 Video projection, water filled vessel, rocks and earth


Who killed cock robin? 1997 Digital (Lambda) print
Wired roses, 2002 Digital (Lambda) print
Infectious Orchid 1, 2004 Digital (Lambda) print
Armarylis, 2004 Digital (Lambda) print
Infectious Orchid 2, 2004 Digital (Lambda) print


Lotus Lakes (Charlene, Penny, Sandy), 2005 Video projections, artificial ponds

Mat Collishaw

Mat Collishaw: installation view; Inverleith House, 2005

Mat Collishaw

Mat Collishaw: installation view; Inverleith House, 2005

All works courtesy of the artist.

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