Roberto Polo Gallery

The Gallery will close for Easter on Sunday, April 16th, 2017;


Alternate Text

Roberto Polo Gallery is honoured to exhibit eight archival pigment prints on fine art paper mounted on conservation board by the British visual artist Sadie Murdoch. These works were originally conceived for her exhibition Modelling Charlotte Perriand, curated by Penelope Curtis in 2007 at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds. Two large format works, Mirrored Photomontage, Part One and Mirrored Photomontage, Part Two are exhibited along with six smaller formats documenting the artist's creative process for that project. The works range in format from 94 x  118 cm to 22.5 x  30 cm (images), and are limited to an edition of 3.

Mirrored Photomontage, Part One and Mirrored Photomontage, Part Two were photographed with a Single Lens Reflex camera and colour negative film. Using analogue photography, Sadie Murdoch interpreted and re-staged a 1929 archival image of the modernist designer Charlotte Perriand reclining on the iconic Chaise Longue LC4, which she designed in collaboration with Pierre Jeanneret and Le Corbusier in 1928. A series of collage works led Sadie Murdoch to construct a painted stage set that materialises and fragments the spatial dynamics of the archival image. Substituting herself for Charlotte Perriand in her own composition, Sadie Murdoch meticulously rendered all within the frame black, white, or grey, creating the illusion of a black and white photograph. Pursuing a form of translation, which by its very nature is never exact, she deliberately went against the ‘grain’ of the medium. Sadie Murdoch's photographic documentation of work in progress comprises printed positive and negative images that reveal the materially based, performative process by which she worked, using theatrical greasepaint, constructed props, a shutter release, and timer.

In Mirrored Photomontage, Part One and Mirrored Photomontage, Part Two, Sadie Murdoch explores how the reclining form seen in the archival image of Chaise Longue LC4 offers a number of formal and conceptual analogies. The adjustable system of the iconic chaise permits a range of seating positions, from upright to recumbent. An unadjusted seating position is integral to the design of the chaise. That ambivalence correlates with how the analogue photographs are situated between greyscale and colour, the original and its interpretation, Charlotte Perriand's body, as well as Sadie Murdoch's, and is formally developed in the spatial ambiguity of the figure/ground relationship.

Sadie Murdoch's series Modelling Charlotte Perriand address how Modernism frames and presents the gendered body. Through interpretative staging, Sadie Murdoch re-routs and resists a chauvinist gaze that positions the female subject as image and object. She staged herself, along with replicas of the archetypal chaise and Charlotte Perriand’s signature ball-bearing necklace. In most archival images of the chaise, Charlotte Perriand is conspicuously absent. She is present only in some, but her face is turned away from the camera, anonymous, her signature ball-bearing necklace the only hint of her identity. Simultaneously model and co-designer of the chaise, Charlotte Perriand also staged and lit the photograph, which could be read as a self-portrait, if it were not for the fact that her face is turned away from the camera, her body seeming to merely demonstrate function. Sadie Murdoch's photographs infer presence conspicuous by absence. Her series Modelling Charlotte Perriand is exemplary of her approach to image-making, where the archival image, or 'document', is positioned as a construct.

The shadow cast by Charlotte Perriand's form and the semi-recumbent possibilities of the Chaise Longue LC4 also point to other forms of ‘in-betweenness’; the shadow looms spectrally, larger than Charlotte Perriand herself, and hints at an empty space, an index of her uncertain presence. Sadie Murdoch’s photographic documents of the working process are presented alongside their inverted formats, holding the past and future together, part of her exploration of the photographic negative as ‘spectral’ afterimage and as primary material record of an event.

Sadie Murdoch is exclusively represented by Roberto Polo Gallery, Brussels, where her solo exhibition will open on November 24th, 2017. She studied at Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, and the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program, New York. In 2016, her solo exhibition SSS-MM at the Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zürich, was accompanied by her artist's book Omnipulsepunslide, published by Artphilein Editions (ISBN978-88-940843-2-0). She was included in Spectral Metropole, Vžigalica Gallery, City Museum of Ljubljana, Slovenia (2012), Beholder, The Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh (2012) and Gets Under the Skin, Storefront  for Art and Architecture, New York (2010).