Canadian artist Wil Murray’s first large-scale installation piece ‘Painted Shut’, in his inaugural London exhibition. Built up from the materials left in limbo in his studio, Murray creates signature three-dimensional planar collages in the space between the expanse of wall and window in Vitrine Bermondsey Square.
Murray’s practice centres around the long-term production of raw materials used in his three-dimensional collages. “When I need one paint stroke, I make twenty of them on a piece of glass, to be peeled up and applied later. When I need photos, I shoot and print a whole roll of 36 exposures. When I want figures and textures from old magazines I spend a day processing them, cutting out hundreds of possible images. Even labour-intensive weaving is done longer than needed.”
For ‘Painted Shut’, painting will be folded in on itself under the glass of the vitrine. The painted marks and their reproductions will be mounted in the same space, but at different depths. To bring in multiple exposures, photographs of other walls from other places archived by the artist will be introduced – images of his studios in Germany and Canada and the subway tiles under Berlin – and the work will become a large rectangular composition and voluminous sculpture occupying the entire gallery space.
Referencing James Rosenquist’s 1970 installation piece “Horizon Home Sweet Home”, in its manner of working with pictorial surface, colour and volume simultaneously, Murray explores the exhibition space and optimizes it as a space to be viewed, not entered. The work plays on the viewers role as voyeur; each visitor encountering something that sits between peepshow and art book, the artists autobiographical and imagined influences fuelling the production of painted strokes, photographs and woven fabric in the installation. Using Vitrine’s window as a dividing membrane between the viewer and the work, the viewer can peer in on what is going on inside, but never cross that boundary or pictorial surface.
Installation photographs: Stephen Williams.