Sep 06 — Oct 11
Marlborough Chelsea is pleased to present Grey Noise, the second solo exhibition of the work of Yoshiaki Mochizuki, opening on Saturday, September 6, 2014.
Still making small-scale works whose surfaces are built up of innumerable layers of gesso, clay, and, in some cases, palladium leaf on board, Mochizuki has come to see chance not as an intentional procedure but as an inevitability. The greater his determination to make a perfect surface the more certain there are to be imperfections. This is especially clear in a new series of burnished graphite works in which tiny white spots resulting from air bubbles in the gesso result in overall patterns. Not only the spots but also their distribution and the texture they give to the surface are the beyond the artist’s control. In addition, the spots disrupt the surface sheen that comes from burnishing the graphite-infused clay, attesting to its actual rather than virtual depth. We see vague reflections of ourselves mirrored in that sheen, reflections that are determined by the nature of the light in the place where we see the work, our distance from the work’s surface, even the colors of our skin and garments. The surface is thus utterly unstable. The picture you see is not the one I see, nor is the picture you see today the one you’ll see tomorrow, even if the object you look at seems to be the same one. We know that vision is unstable, since it is subjective, and depends on our state of mind and what we project onto the object we see. But Mochizuki shows us that the object too is unstable simultaneously perfect and imperfect, homogeneous and heterogeneous, uniform and multiform, planned and accidental.
Whereas previously Mochizuki sometimes added color to the gesso, which he then revealed by scratching lines into the surface, he has eliminated color altogether in the current works. Rather than putting color in the work, he allows color to come to the work, whether as an effect of its environment or of the presence of the viewer or of both together. Because the works are restricted to black, white, and gray (and sometimes silver), they invite comparison with photographs, more, perhaps, than with paintings. But if they recall photographs, it is most certainly analogue photographs—with the obdurate materiality of their surfaces, the grain, the distortion, the flaws. On the other hand, the burnished graphite pictures are as much drawings as they are paintings, both because of the recognizable quality of graphite itself, and because burnishing is as much a technique of drawing as of polishing.