Saturday, 6 May 2017

Since painting, because of its signs or means of imitation can be combined only in space, must relinquish all representations of time...
___Gotthold Ephraim Lessing.

Painting is an object ‘that does not shrink from impossible tasks’.[1] One such task in opposition to Lessing’s insistence that painting observes the limitations of its medium is its attempt to depict and/or represent time. To describe painting as a static image, one that does not move, is an over simplification, but one that nevertheless provokes an admiration for painting’s long history of attempting to overcome the limitations of its inertia, its ability to refer to time, both on its surface and of the world beyond its edges.
The world beyond painting’s edge in this instance is a 1969 publication that catalogues the world of art. The paintings that constitute the series shown are repetitions of images from Discovering Art - five colour plates that present works by Matisse, Giotto, Bruegel, Le Corbusier and Watteau.
This body of work does not confine itself to the temporal conditions of the static image - specifically time in painting, but examines the ways in which repetition temporalises the space of their encounter. This is achieved by placing the paintings into what Quin describes as an open labyrinth, a maze like structure without walls. Paintings are set into motion in relation to one another. This motion is an equivalence of the turned pages of a book - an encounter where an audience writes their own book as Giotto is brought into dialogue with Matisse, and Bruegel with Le Corbusier, relative to the spectator’s spatial location within the gallery space.  
Quin’s interest in the play between repetition and difference - of time and space, questions the long held assumption that painting is a static image.

[1] Adrian Searle, extract from “Unbound”, in Unbound: Possibilities in Painting, curated by Adrian Searle and Greg Hilty, London: Hayward Gallery, 1994, pp. 13-17.

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