PKM is delighted to announce the solo exhibition of Toby Ziegler, Broken images, opening from 17 November to 23 December 2023. This exhibition marks the return of British contemporary artist Toby Ziegler to Korea, four years after his last show at PKM Gallery in 2019. The exhibition features eight new paintings that explore the relationships between objects, images, and space, bridging the realms of classical art and contemporary technology.
By dismantling the formative elements and meanings of classical art using today's techniques and materials, Toby Ziegler studies the way and speed that paintings, both as original form and digital data, reach the audience. His process involves printing a 3D modelling background image that has hollowed out the existing sculptural elements onto a smoothly gessoed and sanded surface. He then introduces painterly interventions with gestural brushstrokes, weaving both inside and outside of the printed grid pattern of layers, and reassembles the dismantled formative elements. In his recent works, Ziegler has returned to using fabric canvases instead of rigid aluminium, exploring the interplay of reason and intuition, representation and abstraction, analog and digital. Through these processes, his works present a multi-layered landscape where the boundaries of originality have blurred.
In Broken images, Ziegler boldly accentuates the painterly aspects of classical images through the incorporation of unrealistic elements inherent in digital technology. The exhibition's title, Broken images, corresponding to the main painting, is derived from a passage in T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land (1922). The poem portrays a human imagery decayed and ravaged by the war, a consequence of civilisation's turmoil, while simultaneously holding hope for redemption. Echoing Eliot's fragmented and erratic poetic rhythm, Ziegler presents a new interpretation of the Holy Grail – a symbol of shattered images that float like illusions in a hybridised geometric realm.
The colour palette and structure of Harvest (2023) draw inspiration from an anonymous artwork, The Wilton Diptych (ca. 1395-9), housed at the National Gallery in London. In the work, detailed depictions of Richard II (1367-1400), the eighth king of England, and the Virgin and Child with Saints, bestowing blessings on his reign, appear to traverse the XYZ axes freely within a computer screen. The fluttering national flag and the angels that gave the prosperity and blessings to the nation now exist as mere red and blue brushstrokes around the plane. Ziegler expands upon this disintegration in Idyll (2023), where the work constructs a new idyllic environment filled solely with points, lines, and planes. Thus, the original images, having lost their forms, meanings, and volumes after the 3D modelling process, are concealed by the artist's spontaneous yet carefully constructed painterly techniques. They encounter the audience as a form of gradually emerging from the dense fog, transforming into a vision of memory.
Toby Ziegler, based in London, graduated from Central St. Martin's School of Art. The artist has held solo exhibitions at various institutions, including the Museum of Old and New Art (Berriedale, Australia), the New Art Centre (Salisbury, UK), and the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma (Helsinki, Finland). He also participated in group exhibitions at Tate Britain (London, UK), Belvedere Museum (Vienna, Austria), Minsheng Art Museum (Shanghai, China), and Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (Düsseldorf, Germany). His works are included in the collections of major institutions such as the Tate Gallery (London, UK), The British Council (London, UK), Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (Birmingham, UK), K11 Art Foundation (Central, Hong Kong), and Kadist Art Foundation (Paris, France).
Press release courtesy PKM Gallery.