John Hilliard: Not Black and White

Duncan Wooldridge, Course Director for BA Photography at Camberwell, curated the current show, John Hilliard: Not Black and White, at Richard Saltoun Gallery. Speaking about the experience, Woodridge says, ‘This project is the result of a long running dialogue between John Hilliard and myself, and concerns the re-emphasizing of Hilliard’s formally inventive approach to photographic image making.  At the centre of this project is a concern with abstraction, pictorial interruption, and the monochrome.  As photography has moved to become more and more concerned with photographic abstraction, Hilliard’s role becomes more and more central. Within photography, abstraction is the challenge to assumptions of photographic indexicality and representability, and marks a turning away from a concern with functionality, towards experimentation and an expanding out of photography’s perceived limits. Tracing work across 45 years of practice, the earliest work from 1969, and the most recent from 2013, the rigour of John’s practice is made evident in its recurring call to the emptying out of the picture, and to the specific possible conditions of photographic monochromy, which begin in the 1960s, alongside what Benjamin H.D. Buchloh has called the “diagrammatic abstraction” of the era, and become George Baker’s “culture of abstraction” in the present.’

Press release:

John Hilliard: Not Black and White

Curated by Duncan Wooldridge

Exhibition dates:  5 September – 9 October, 2014 (PV 4thSeptember, 6 – 8 pm)

Richard Saltoun Gallery announces a solo exhibition of British conceptual artist John Hilliard, curated by artist and writer Duncan Wooldridge.

This is the first solo exhibition of John Hilliard in the UK since 2000, and the first in any context to draw out a long recurring motif: the puncturing and interruptive monochrome at the centre of many of his works. The exhibition will present key artworks spanning forty years of his practice.

Hilliard’s time  as  a  sculpture  student  at  St.  Martin’s  School  of  Art  exposed  him  to  a  new  pedagogy  that  favoured the  idea over the object. Students were asked to document all stages of their work, creating a visual overview of their artistic process, a project that influenced the trajectory of his career. Hilliard began by making site-specific installations in 1966, always documenting the installation with a photograph, eventually displacing the installation with the photograph itself. He first exhibited in 1969 at the Camden Arts Centre and these works have come to form the backbone of his practice.

Through his career he has continued to question the reliability of the photograph to represent the object or subject photographed. Hilliard has explored this through a recurring call to abstraction, allowing the camera to distort and affect what it sees through selective cropping, focus and exposure. He has displaced the perceived subject with expanses of monochrome comprising available objects – studio backdrops, walls, and projector screens. More recent works, such as 1, 2, 3 (2004) distort and abstract the image through more technical means: multiple exposures, perspectives, and colours, all of which interrupt the pictorial representation of the photographed subject and space. These works see Hilliard continuing to work with the full possibilities of making work with the camera and photographic image, incorporating installation and painting, to a new process of drawing with the digital files of his previous works.

This exhibition firmly places Hilliard as one of the foremost and innovative photo–‐conceptual artists working today. The exhibition will be accompanied by a monograph, John Hilliard: Not Black and White, published by Ridinghouse, London.

John HILLIARD (b. 1945 -) Studied sculpture at St Martin’s School of Art, 1964–‐7, and has taught at art schools in London (Camberwell, Chelsea and the Slade) and Holland (Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht and the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam). His work is in collections including the Tate Gallery, London; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum, Tokyo; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Solo exhibitions in museums include Kunstverein, Hanover, 1997, Kunstverein Stuttgart, 1999 and Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna, 2000.

Curator: Duncan Wooldridge Duncan Wooldridge is an artist, writer and curator. He curated the exhibition Anti–Photography at Focal Point Gallery in 2011, and writes for Art Monthly, Source, Elephant, Photoworks, and Eikon magazines. He is the Course Director of the BA (Hons) Photography at Camberwell College of Art, University of the Arts London.

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Visitor Information: Richard Saltoun, 111 Great Titchfield Street, London, W1W 6RY

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7637 1225

Gallery Hours: Monday to Friday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm or by appointment

Nearest tube: Oxford Circus and Great Portland Street

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