Colour photoworks 1985-91
15 February - 17 March 2007
Wednesday-Friday 12-6, Saturday 12-4
Reception for the artist: Wednesday 14 March, 6-8 pm
Tim Head's large photographic compositions are an important component of the ground-breaking work he made in the 1980s and early 1990s. They are true photographs, produced before inkjet technology made colour printing on this scale widespread: cibachrome and c-type prints up to 244 cm (8 feet) wide.
Four of the works in the show: Still-Life (Erasers); Erasers 2 (On The Rocks); and two works from the 'Petrochemicaland series', are staged still-lifes exploring consumerism, war and pollution. In Still-Life (Erasers) a pile of rubber pencil erasers shaped like skulls (we can only speculate on the original target market for these tiny memento mori), greatly enlarged, becomes a luminous vanitas. A related work, Erasers 2 (On The Rocks), throws the skulls together with toy armaments to create a kind of rubbish-dump situated in a bleak environment of plastic sheeting. The Petrochemicaland series presents endless landscapes of synthetic detritus. A fifth work, Winter, the image of a dead tree inverted, coated in fluorescent paint and illuminated, suggests the sinister beauty that can arise from our manipulation of nature.
Head's concerns have not dated; and his practice at this time, encompassing installation, painting and photography, foreshadows the heterogeneous technique of today's "project-based" artists. During the period of Head's show at Matthew Bown Gallery, Tate Britain will be re-creating his installation Displacements (1975-6) and will include a further work in a survey of students who were at St Martin's 1965-72.
A note on the works:
Several of the photographs exhibited are original cibachrome prints dating from the 1980s or early 1990s; as far as we know, cibachrome prints are no longer made in Europe.
Tim Head was born in 1946 in London. He studied at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne from 1965 to 1969, where his teachers included Richard Hamilton and Ian Stephenson. In 1968 he went to New York where he worked as an assistant to Claes Oldenburg, and met Robert Smithson, Richard Serra, Eva Hesse, Sol LeWitt, John Cale and others. He studied on the Advanced Sculpture Course run by Barry Flanagan at St Martin's School of Art, London, in 1969. In 1971 he worked as an assistant to Robert Morris on his Tate Gallery show. From 1971 to 1979 he taught at Goldsmiths College, London. In 1987 Head was awarded First Prize in the 15th John Moores Exhibition.
Head has exhibited widely internationally. His solo shows include MoMA, Oxford (1972); Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1974 and 1992); British Pavilion, Venice Biennale (1980); ICA, London (1985); and Kunstverein Freiburg, Germany, and touring (1995). He has taken part in group shows including 'Documenta 6', Kassel (1977); 'British Art Now: An American Perspective', Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York, and Royal Academy, London (1980); 'The British Art Show', Arts Council Tour (1984); 'Gambler', Building One, London (1990); and 'Live in Your Head: Concept and Experiment in Britain 1965-75', Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (2000).
AWARDS, FELLOWSHIPS AND PRIZES
Cibachrome print, 122 x 152 cm
Cibachrome print, 122 x 152 cm
Erasers 2 (On The Rocks)
Cibachrome print, 122 x 244 cm
C-print, 122 x 200 cm