14 – 27 September 1987
Brian Catling has been described as a 'transient room-maker'. The room is constructed through imagination in his writing, and in his performances through movements of discovery and exploration. In his installations, materials are used as instruments with which first to receive and comment on the qualities of a particular room - light, atmosphere, space - and then to re-invent it. In doing so, he creates a resonance in the objects through which an invocation of presence takes place. This articulation of the ethereal through solid form is the key to Catling's work.
In Lair, a new installation for Matt's Gallery, three signifiers - a calendar of Angels, a metal engraved 'carpet', and a feather - each brought into the space to fuel a response, mark out invisible and physical boundaries. Traces of a presence can be detected in a number of 'objects', which illuminate the atmosphere through a friction created by the juxtaposition of the qualities of parchment, vellum and perspex. The association of parchment with knowledge stored from another time, the idea of inscription (also associated with the feather, or quill), and the living, tangible, characterful opacity of its surface is set against the manipulable, transparent modernity of perspex. The contradiction contained within the choice and use of materials is also present in the contrast between the physicality of construction and the immateriality surrounding the result.
Ambivalence and implication within the room suggest Hypothenia, the area occupied by angels, within which transformation and metamorphosis take place. The angelic presence functions for Catling both as an exploration of that hypothenic space and as a metaphor for the human search for knowledge and meaning.
To accompany the exhibition the gallery is publishing a booklet by the artist entitled Lair - containing extracts from 'Written Rooms and Pencilled Crimes'.
Sponsors: Parchment by Benyon Ltd; Perspex by Talbot Designs Ltd Refreshments kindly supplied by Moosehead Beer
Further exhibitions at Matt’s Gallery
15 – 21 April 2019
30 September – 2 October 2011
1 – 16 October 2005
19 – 27 September 1998
At the Lighthouse
8 November – 1 December 1991
The Lighthouse, London E14