Your shadow ris­ing Toby Ziegler

Art Almanac - - Art In Aus­tralia - Melissa Pesa

The au­ton­omy of the im­age in the works of Toby Ziegler, a Lon­don-based multi-me­dia artist is ques­tioned by the ex­pan­sion of dig­i­tal me­dia, and its trans­for­ma­tion of our per­cep­tion of the ma­te­rial world. Ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy have pri­ori­tised speed and pro­fi­ciency over tac­til­ity and sub­stance, and the tra­di­tional con­cept and pro­duc­tion, as well as the hermeneu­ti­cal aes­thet­ics of a paint­ing, or sculp­ture, is now var­ied.

Ziegler’s prac­tice is an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into how dig­i­tal forms, and their con­struc­tion, os­cil­late be­tween in­tan­gi­ble and carte­sian space; a con­stant push and pull be­tween ab­strac­tion and fig­u­ra­tive, clas­si­cal com­po­si­tion and dig­i­tally gen­er­ated and ma­nip­u­lated im­agery, and the out­come when you at­tempt to trans­late them into some­thing phys­i­cal.

Through paint­ing, sculp­ture, and video, Ziegler in­ter­ro­gates the role of the artist in ‘Your shadow ris­ing’ at Mona – The Mu­seum of Old and New Art, Tas­ma­nia. New works re­flect on themes of ori­gins, trauma, and trans­for­ma­tion, em­bod­ied in the in­clu­sion of fire and ‘a lump of vol­canic rock’; and Ziegler’s largest sculp­ture to date – the show’s eponym – a grey 3D printed mon­u­ment of Ro­coco forms that look like lay­ers of sed­i­men­tary rock.

A large-scale hand ti­tled The hu­man en­gine (2018) – a faceted, polyg­o­nal replica of the body part, man­u­fac­tured from clear Per­spex – is sus­pended from the ceil­ing. In its pris­matic re­frac­tion of light and shadow cast onto the floor be­low, the com­plex­i­ties of com­pu­ta­tional me­chan­ics and vir­tual net­works, as well as the var­i­ous di­men­sions of art mak­ing, are vis­i­ble.

‘The start­ing point for this sculp­ture was a draw­ing by Hen­drick Goltz­ius, a Dutch Baroque print­maker, drafts­man, and painter,’ says Ziegler. ‘He drew his own hand after it was in­jured by molten me­tal – an ac­ci­dent that he felt was more of a bless­ing than a curse be­cause it trans­formed the way he drew. He used sweep­ing arches from his shoul­der rather than his wrist, and he claimed that this process made his draw­ing far su­pe­rior to his ear­lier ef­forts. The hand is a ref­er­ence to the phys­i­cal pro­cesses of trans­for­ma­tion in my own work.’ Thus, the sculp­tural piece is a fit­ting in­tro­duc­tion to the over­all con­cept of the ex­hi­bi­tion.

Sub­ject and medium strengthen in their merger while their nar­ra­tive is stripped away, lit­er­ally

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