Justin Mortimer: Hoax
Published to coincide with a solo presentation of the new Hoax series by British painter Justin Mortimer at The Armory Show in New York the publication presents the thirty works that comprise this exceptional series of paintings depicting dead and dying flowers, offering an intense and accomplished exposition of still life, or perhaps more aptly, nature morte. From one direction, pure abstraction threatens to rupture into physical space and matter; from the other, figuration almost collapses into the abstraction that engulfs it. With Mortimer’s characteristic combination of darkness and beauty, melancholy and metaphysics, observation and interpretation, the Hoax series is a major new addition to the artist’s oeuvre.
Alongside new photography of all the paintings, the book features a specially commissioned essay by London-based writer Freya Cooper Kiddie, in which she discusses the genesis and evolution of the suite of paintings, its connections to Mortimer’s wider practice and to art history, and opens up critical lines of enquiry ranging from 20th-century experimental film to existential notions of mortality, from altered states of mind to the concept of still life as portraiture. Cooper Kiddie investigates the techniques and aesthetics of a series that fuses decaying organic matter with corrupted digital technology.
While the Hoax series of paintings can be read as an exploration of the medium of paint and of the dialogue between figuration and abstraction through a single subject, its themes are manifold, from the contemplation of mortality to faded beauty and lost love – fragrant flowers in full bloom, as if to deceive us, soon decay. Here, in these dank, acrid, darkly psychedelic works, Mortimer shines a flashlight on the spectral beauty of death, and in doing so, reminds us that life is the agonizing yet ecstatic explosion of colour that fleetingly fills the void.
Published by Anomie Publishing
Essay by Freya Cooper Kiddie
Design by Modern Activity
2018. 88 pp, c.45 ills.
255 x 195 cm
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