The Centrifugal Soul is a solo exhibition by Mat Collishaw opens at Blain|Southern in London’s Mayfair from 7 April to 27 May 2017.
The exhibition showcases a series of installations, paintings and sculptural works which explore the superficiality of truth. The central work, also named The Centrifugal Soul, is informed by Collishaw’s work with evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller, whose work theorises that art originates from courtship rituals and instincts.
“We put too much of ourselves into our product facades, spinning too much mass to our outer edges where we hope it is both publicly visible and instantly lovable. One problem with this strategy is that it leaves too much blank space in the middle, so there’s not much of ourselves left for lovers or friends to discover in the long term. This could be called the centrifugal-soul effect.” – Geoffrey Miller
As well as examining the superficiality of truth, the exhibition explores the idea, put forward by Miller, that processes of sexual and aesthetic selection and diversification evolved together and informed one another. The exhibition’s centrepiece is a zoetrope sculpture whose mechanised movements animate scenes of birds of paradise performing elaborate mating rituals.
Like the centrepiece, the other works in the exhibition create an interplay between beauty and loss, freedom and entrapment, life and deadness; all themes connected to acts of courtship and mating. A sacred tree in Nottingham, whose dead, hollow trunk is supported by extensive scaffolding, becomes subject matter for the installation Albion. Elsewhere, a new body of work by Collishaw contrasts trompe l’oeil paintings of British garden birds with graffiti tags. In doing so, the artist compares contemporary and historic means of conveying power, prestige and sexual prowess.
The Centrifugal Soul will be accompanied by a catalogue featuring an artist interview with writer James Parry and texts by art critic Waldemar Januszczak and Geoffrey Miller. An artist talk with Waldemar Januszczak takes place at Blain|Southern London at 6:30pm on 3 May 2017. The talk is free to attend but places are limited, please rsvp to firstname.lastname@example.org