Christian Newby

Breton Wall

16 October 2013 - 23 November 2013
VITRINE Bermondsey Square

Opening: Tuesday 15 October 2013, 6 – 9pm.

A solo exhibition by American artist Christian Newby, displaying a new series of works produced especially for Vitrine Bermondsey Square. Newby’s practice is expansive, including screenprinted wall hangings, objects such as paper columns painted with watercolours and hand-tufted carpets – works that reconfigure the formal and decorative sources from which they derive.

Breton wall takes its title from the collection of modern ephemera displayed at the apartment of Surrealist writer and poet, André Breton, which he acquired from flea markets, auctions and artists studios on his wanderings around Paris; a random selection of objects, from Dada works of art to insect collections to African totems.

For his installation in Vitrine, Newby will present hand dyed fabrics, alongside prints made from photographs of unfired pottery made by his wife, Ana Martínez Fernández. He views these works as an attempt to recreate what was the tableaux of ‘Breton’s Wall’. By exploring an interest in making and the exchange that takes place between materials, technique and social contexts in which these are embedded, Newby breaks down idiosyncratic associations and reconstructs (domestic) still lifes, as objects and representations of phenomena.

In collaborating with others, Newby creates a discourse outside his own practice, which explores notions of authorship, and questions where the work begins and ends. As creative languages overlap the artist distorts the point of entry for the viewer, and furthermore disrupts the distinctions and hierarchies made between art, design and craft.

A dynamic interplay within Newby’s work means that components are overlaid at one point only to surface at another, that could be argued parallels the tension of ownership and authorship also present in Breton’s collection, which following his death was broken up into individual works to be sold at auction, taking with them the spirit of Breton, but denying the collective unity they once had.

Newby consistently plays with nuance by utilising familiar filmic and historical vantage points – echoing interior settings and the arrangement of objects to imply narratives only to be concluded by the viewer – Vitrine will become a site for potential theatricality oscillating between the experiential and material world.

Curated by Katherine Gardner