Tristan Hoare in London will present LEAD through April 28, 2017. The exhibition of new photographs features the work of Madrid-born, London-based artist Alejandro Guijarro. For his second solo show at Tristan Hoare in London, Guijarro presents a new body of work that extends his photographic inquiries into the connection between art and science.
Working in collaboration with the conservation and collections departments of The Prado Museum, Madrid, The Louvre, Paris and The National Gallery, London, the artist scanned X-ray and ultra-violet renditions of Old Master paintings – including works by Uccello, van Dyck, Rubens, Delacroix, Goya and Velazquez among others. Monochromatic and energetic, the resulting photographs have a graphic power strangely suggestive of the New York School artists, or a Gerhard Richter abstract.
The title of the new series, LEAD, refers to the presence of the metal in 17th- and 18th-century paint. This is what the X-rays show, bouncing back off lead pigments and transforming the paintings from recognisable images into otherworldly scenes, as if the viewer is given access to a separate reality below the surface paint. Guijarro has taken a scientific process used to demystify the paintings, and in doing so made them more unknowable, blurring the divisions between science and art.
This series of photographs focusing on the link between art and science continues Alejandro Guijarro’s investigations into the paradoxes and contradictions that emerge where the boundaries of the photographic image break down. His first major series, Momentum, was a three-year project which saw the artist travel to the great quantum mechanics institutions around the world. From Berkeley in California to CERN in Switzerland, Guijarro photographed blackboards as he found them, before reproducing them at a 1:1 scale. By undermining our recognizable modes of perception, Guijarro’s photographic practice aims to question the solidity and authority of the photographic image and its ability to refer to reality and truth.