Matt Saunders, Louise Brooks #6, 2012‐2013, silver gelatin print on fiber-based paper, 148 cm x 102 cm
Matt Saunders explores and re-positions the space between painting and photography. The enigmatic black-and-white works on paper were created by projecting light through a drawing or painting so that the subject is revealed on a sheet of photosensitive paper. The works are given photographic expression without the use of a camera.
The works for the exhibition were created as an extension of Saunders' solo exhibition Century Rolls at TATE Liverpool in 2013. They involve uprooting the photographic process and moving it towards a more painterly process. Nevertheless the works stand at a distance from our traditional view of a painting, with their X-ray-like images and the way they almost imitate painting. Yet they are still paintings made by hand, whose expression is displaced back into a photographic form.
In the exhibition Saunders will show the film China in Nixon, which moves through a series of ink-on-mylar drawings edited together into a fluid if elliptical narrative despite the leaps in time and place. The film investigates how content and material can work together across boundaries.
With his fascination with the well-known iconic personalities of the period, Matt Saunders uses existing photos - for this exhibition the Danish actress Asta Nielsen is briefly in focus, through her career in Berlin. Her recognizable androgynous aura, her dark seductive gaze and mysterious attitude made "Die Asta" the greatest actress and muse of the 1910s. Asta has a central placement in the exhibition - in a portrait of her playing Hamlet - and she haunts the whole show. The portrait is surrounded by other well-known personalities from her time and up to the 1980s. Apart from the portrait of Asta all the works in the exhibition are many in a kind of narrative process or transformation.
Matt Saunders (b. 1975 Washington, USA) lives and works in Cambridge, MA (USA) and Berlin (Germany). He has studied at Harvard and Yale in the USA. Over the years he has received a number of awards, including that of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation (2009) and the Prix Jean-Francois Prat (2013). Saunders has had solo exhibitions at art institutions such as Tate Liverpool and The Renaissance Society, Chicago, and has participated in exhibitions at among other museums Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Ps1 MoMA, New York.