© Craigie Horsfield

Craigie Horsfield
Irresponsible Drawings

Following his latest comprehensive film installation at Documenta XI, Frith Street Gallery is delighted to present an exhibition of a new body of work by Craigie Horsfield.

While his remarkable portraits and landscapes, drawn from the social projects throughout Europe (e.g. Barcelona 1996, Rotterdam 1998 and Brussels 2000), were large-scale and black-and-white, the pictures here consist of small, mostly coloured works on paper, drawings, collages, black-and-white and colour photographs, photogravures and monotype-prints. As elsewhere, in the film and soundworks for example, these works rely in part on allusion and a fluctuation between the familiar and unfamiliar. Made over the past year in Horsfield's studios in New York and London, the works form variations on a set of themes taken from botanical drawings of the 19th century and 20th century plant photography. At Frith Street these variations will trace three strands: historical rhetoric - in a series of quotations from everyday sources - the decay of plants with a counterpoint of other objects and a parallel shift of colour and perspective. Three dimensional representation of illusionistic space and volume of fleshy fruit, vivid and colourful, flattens towards two dimensions as the material decays and the colour leaches out into the monochrome plane of the decaying organic matter of the paper.

The variations play with the way in which, over time, language absorbs and alters descriptions of the world, so that, distanced from their historical source, they come to serve other purposes and accumulate other meanings - they become decorative or simply thin with repetition and familiarity.

The simplicity of the pictures is deceptive and they are built from installations of pigment and materials prepared over many months. As a meditation on medium, material, representation and being, these new works involve small shifts of attention that have far- reaching consequences. In this they are not so distant from the earlier photographs and films in which the surfaces are fragile and tenacious and the marks of the repeated actions and disintegration are a commonplace.

Modest, playful and small in scale the "Irresponsible Drawings" carry with them a profound historical understanding and have at their centre themes which are constants of Horsfield's work: the evanescence of light, darkness, and the awareness of shaded perception. Things depicted take on a sense of the gravity of the present. The drawings form a study of intimacy in the world of inanimate things and our understanding of them.

In recent years Craigie Horsfield has had solo exhibitions at important international institutions, such as the Stedelijk van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven; Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. He was included in Documenta XI, Kassel in 2002. His work features in many of the world's major public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, Tate Gallery, London, Fondation Nationale d'Art Contemporain, Paris and in many private collections worldwide.

25 September - 10 November 2003
Hours: Tue-Fri 10 am - 6 pm, Sat 11am - 4 pm

Frith Street Gallery
59-60 Frith Street
GB-London W1D 3JJ
Telefon +44 20 7494 1550
Fax +44 20 7287 3733