For the past six years, Mikhael Subotzky has been systematically pulling images apart in an attempt to “get inside” them and understand their representational function. Working with found images as well as his own photographs, these have been radically re-contextualised, smashed, split in half, and reconstituted into forms that Subotzky sees as being a more honest reflection of these images than their original form.
At Maitland Institute, Subotzky continues this process, working for the first time with paint and ink on canvas. These constituents are welded around his personal iconography – images that he has both found and made that resonate with his memories and experiences.
This “work in progress” exhibition also introduces a new stream in Subotzky’s work, a cross-medium attempt to illustrate and understand T.S. Elliot’s Four Quartets. Drawing on a long history of artists’ “illustration” of classic texts – Rauschenberg’s Thirty-Four Illustrations for Dante’s Inferno and Robert Crumb’s Holy Bible for example – Subotzky seeks to get inside a text that has been fundamental to his aesthetic and philosophical understanding of the world. It is a project that he estimates he will be preoccupied with for many years to come.