Installations and multi-media works

35 mm - I took my slides to the gallery

Alex Hartley

35 mm - I took my slides to the gallery

Installation

1996

HC 12008

Provenance

Victoria Miro, London
Acquired from the above by the previous owner

Exhibited

Minor Sensation, Victoria Miro Gallery, London, 9 September - 24 October 1997. (This coincided with Sensation: Young British Artists From The Saatchi Gallery, Royal Acadamy of Arts, London).

MDF, aluminium, DuraClear and cellulose paint, in 10 parts
each 90 x 90 x 4 cm (35 3/8 x 35 3/8 x 1 5/8 in.)

This work is unique.

The images in the 'slides' are of previous works by the artist.

In 1997 Hartley was included in the group exhibition, Minor Sensation, at Victoria Miro Gallery where he showed this work. This exhibition was immediately followed by a solo exhibition of Alex Hartley at Victoria Miro Gallery entitled Viewer. The eponymous work also used massively enlarged slides. As the press release explained:

"Alex Hartley presents a major new work, Viewer. A gargantuan fully functioning slide viewer, based on an early sixties design, takes over the gallery space whilst oversized slides lean casually against the wall.

The 35mm slide is recognised in the art world as the most common form of currency in a constant exchange between artists, curators, collectors, critics and dealers. Recognition in the art world means submitting to a system and a certain apparatus. A prerequisite of participation in such a system for the artist is the possession of a selection of slides and inevitably, the photographic slide becomes a substitute for the real thing. In Hartley's new work, the slide takes on an epic scale - indeed it literally is the artwork.

Further developing his investigation of the architectural impositions of the gallery space, the image projected through the lens of the viewer is of a pristine, white, modernist room - the neutral space which again typically represents a kind of cultural given for the artist. The stark physical presence of the slide viewer, which in itself has an architectural quality, contrasts with the dream like illusion it contains - an impossible three dimensional space.

In his earlier work, Hartley used images of actual gallery spaces in wall sculptures where the spaces were contained in heavy glass boxes. The hermetically sealed galleries described both the real and the systematic life of the art object and its presentation. In Viewer, Hartley again explores the relationship between the art object and the spectator. The subject of the work is the means of presentation and Hartley's technical mastery ensures a dynamic object for ever referencing its own presentational context."

Hartley has explained: "All my work up to this point and for most of my career has dealt directly with photography in some way or other - often attempting to convert the represented three dimensions of an image back into sculpture. Around this time I made works using the language and methods of display including single images that ran across 35mm museum display cases, large sculptures made form light boxes, wall and floor works containing images of empty galleries. I had a job for a while taking the installation images of artists's works - and it was during this period that I would move their works and photograph the empty spaces to include in my sculptures. I would spend days processing and delivering 5x4, medium format and 35mm transparencies to west end galleries." Alex Hartley, email to Claire Hyman, 18 December 2019.

We are grateful to Alex Hartley for his assistance in cataloguing this work.


British Photography / The Hyman Collection, London

Alex Hartley

35 mm - I took my slides to the gallery

Installation

1996

HC 12008

All images © the artist or copyright holder | Website © The Hyman Collection 2021