John Stezaker: The Projectionist at The Approach
From 12th March until 19th April, The Approach gallery in Bethnal Green is hosting a small exhibition of silkscreens by British artist John Stezaker. Usually known for the surreal tone to his work, he is a conceptual artist with a predominance of pop-art: he often uses pre-existing images such as film stills, postcards, and portraits.
Situated on the first floor of a small building, just above a pub, The Approach is a contemporary art gallery that focuses on solo exhibitions by London-based artists. This spring, it presents John Stezaker’s The Projectionist, consisting of four large-scale silkscreens positioned on each wall of a light and spacious room. This exhibition is as minimalist as they come – the whole space of the gallery is kept clean and empty save for those four pieces on opposite sides of the room.
As for the pieces themselves, they are monochromatic silkscreen prints, boasting the opposing absences of darkness and light. Each print has a cut out piece that blacks out a part of the image – this is either a black rectangular or a white circle is positioned on top of some of the figures portrayed, giving a new sense to the whole piece. As per usual for Stezaker, these are collage works that are re-appropriating film stills, picking up from his canvases from the late 1980s.
The pieces on show have quite a vintage feeling to them as they are prints of images from the 1940s and the 50s. The collages cut the stilled moments of cinema with metaphors of its light: that is, the absent space of darkness in the “shadow” figures or the intensity of the spotlight. Ultimately, the artist’s fascination with the transition from light to dark that could be found in film noir is pivotal to this exhibition.
The Projectionist is at The Approach until 19th April 2015, for further information visit here.