Shadow systems, 2017
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Toby Ziegler’s work toys with human perception while drawing abstraction and figuration close to one another. The work reveals and blurs at the same time, allowing for a movement between the virtual and the actual. The process is important: pictorial space is mapped out digitally, which in-turn is translated onto a material surface by Ziegler’s own hand. The question remains in Ziegler’s work: are we looking at computer graphic, or manual copy?
In ‘Shadow systems’, Ziegler eschews direct treatment of Matisse’s ‘La Danse’ in favour of an image of the work’s installation. It is the (re) presentation of a photograph taken at the Hermitage Amsterdam, prior to the 2010 exhibition: Matisse to Malevich. The blurred text at the bottom of the aluminum panel requires intense scrutiny to read; asking much of the spectator’s own ocular proficiency. The work simultaneously attracts and repels: the green paint takes the form of a screen, while the treatment of the figures appears radiographic. Ziegler’s work allows us to both to see and not see. Is the installation team rendered absurd, contemplating an image they themselves cannot see? Or do they occupy a privileged position denied to the spectator? ‘Shadow systems’ not only asks if you can see but also if you are you entitled to.