Staring at art from the Tate's collection and thinking about it

Sunday, 28 April 2013

[no title] from 'Pair B' - Grenville Davey

Grenville Davey, [no title] from 'Pair B', 1993, screenprint on paper, 716 x 839 mm, Tate.

Davey won the Turner Prize in 1992 for his sculptures based on the forms of buttons, corks, and the like, blown up to many times their original size.  This is one of his screenprints, and again magnification is a key element.  We see a photo of a spotlight, enlarged to varying degrees to the point that the image breaks down into pixels.  This is a work about the limits of observation.  It tells us that closeness is not necessarily clarity, and to examine an image of a thing is not to examine the thing itself.
   Despite being about the act of looking (and taken from a larger series called 'Eye') it's not that visually interesting, however, and I've seen enough pixelated images in art over the past twenty years or so I can't really get that excited when I see another one.  It's a stimulating enough work, I guess, although the thoughts it inspired aren't the most interesting ones I've ever had, and I can't help but feel that Davey's sculptures are always going to be the main event.

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