Toby Ziegler

Slave (solo show)
New Art Centre, Salisbury
23 September - 26 November 2017

Toby Ziegler, installation view, New Art Centre, 2017 Courtesy of New Art Centre, Roche Court Sculpture Park, Wiltshire © Toby Ziegler
Toby Ziegler, installation view, New Art Centre, 2017 Courtesy of New Art Centre, Roche Court Sculpture Park, Wiltshire © Toby Ziegler

Toby Ziegler's second exhibition at the New Art Centre continues his investigation into the ways in which objects gather and shed narratives. The art historical motifs that Ziegler chooses to work with have complex layered histories of their own, but also have autobiographical significance for the artist. The new sculpture, painting and screen prints in this exhibition all overtly refer to the work of Henri Matisse. For Ziegler, Matisse is a complicated figure. Ziegler was drawn to Matisse when discovering painting as a child, but also found the jubilant, decorative nature of Matisse's work bizarre given that it was made against the backdrop of two world wars. Furthermore, this exhibition shares its title, Slave, with one of the exhibited sculptures: a life-size standing figure with pronounced contrapposto, cast in aluminium. The sculpture is informed by Matisse's 'Madeleine I' (1901), but its title alludes to another reference as both sculptures echo Michelangelo's 'Dying Slave' (1516).

Central to Ziegler's practice is a negotiation between digital and manual approaches to generating forms and images. This new group of sculptures, the result of more than three years of experimentation, take the logic of 3D printers as a model but involve many convoluted processes. As with Ziegler's previous work, the sculptures' initial forms are created one polygon at a time using 3D modelling software. This virtual model is then sliced at regular intervals to produce a set of templates which are printed onto cardboard sheets. Using these templates, Ziegler builds up coils of clay to create the sculptural form one layer at a time, replicating by hand the actions of a 3D printer. Ziegler has always been preoccupied with different speeds of gesture in both painting and sculpture. In both media, slow, painstaking work made over weeks is suddenly disrupted by more physical, improvised gestures made in a matter of moments. In these new sculptures the coiled clay forms are deformed and ruptured, creating baroque flourishes amongst the otherwise regular strata. Ziegler makes 3D scans of these models, enlarges the scale digitally, and 3D prints them. Ziegler tests the capabilities of the 3D printer, asking the coils of hot, liquid plastic it produces to defy gravity before setting solid. This results in periodic disruptions in the print that resemble festoons of spaghetti. The disruptions in the print echo the disruptions in the original clay forms.

The painting in this exhibition also considers a loss of information due to digital translation. The results from a Google image search for Matisse's 'Large Reclining Nude' (1935) provide the source imagery for Ziegler's painting. This image search returned a grid of 18 degraded thumbnails of the painting with varying colour casts. The grid in the background of Matisse's painting is echoed by the grid of images on the search page and the visible grid of pixels that make up the jpegs. Ziegler carefully paints his source image onto a large aluminium panel over a period of several weeks. He then works back into it with an orbital sander, removing weeks of work in a few minutes, obliterating much of the original image to reveal the aluminium beneath and creating a new image in the process.

Matisse's four reliefs depicting progressively abstracted representations of a woman's back are the inspiration for four new prints by Ziegler. Pixelated images of Matisse's friezes screen printed onto lightweight aluminium blankets connect the two-dimensional and three-dimensional works in the show. Matisse's 'Backs I to IV' (1908- 1931) operate somewhere between image and sculpture. Ziegler has reduced them to 2D images but then thrust them back into an awkward in-between dimension by printing them onto the crinkled foil survival blankets used by marathon runners.

NewArtCentre, Salisbury


Toby Ziegler

Everything Is Recorded (site specific installation)
Savoy Cinema, Dalston, London
14 - 17 February 2018

© Toby Ziegler
© Toby Ziegler

Between February 14th and 17th Richard Russell and Toby Ziegler will present a major site-specific music and art installation on two floors of the abandoned Savoy cinema in Dalston, east London. Russell and Ziegler have been friends since 2000 but this is their first collaboration, to celebrate the release of the debut album by Russell’s music project Everything Is Recorded (titled Everything Is Recorded by Richard Russell and released 16th February via XL Recordings).

Upstairs in the cavernous vaulted auditorium Ziegler will show a new three screen video work centring around tracks by Everything Is Recorded, a collaborative artist project that has seen Russell working with the likes of Sampha, Ibeyi, Warren Ellis, Kamasi Washington, Giggs, Wiki, Obongjayar, Infinite, Syd, Damon Albarn, Owen Pallett and Green Gartside among others. Ziegler’s work collages thousands of stock images, alongside live webcam footage and computer generated landscapes.

Downstairs Ziegler will show an immersive sculptural installation that functions as a stage on which Richard Russell and a variety of Everything Is Recorded collaborators will prepare and rehearse, culminating in Everything Is Recorded’s first ever live performance on 15th February. The show will feature Sampha, Ibeyi, Warren Ellis, Obongjayar, Rachel Zeffira, Infinite and more. In addition to experiencing the exhibition and live shows, there will also be the opportunity to attend open live rehearsals at various points during the week.

The week will also see Everything Is Recorded collaborating with NTS Radio for a series of specially-curated live broadcasts. Full details will be announced shortly.

The Savoy cinema was located in an Art Deco building which has been largely unused since the mid-1990’s. This project will occupy the space for a week prior to the start of its renovation and reincarnation as The Hackney Arts Centre, a major new performing arts venue for East London opening late 2018. Hackney Arts Centre is located at 11 – 17 Stoke Newington Road, London N16 8BH.

Everything Is Recorded