Toby Ziegler – It'll soon be over (exquisite corpse), 2018

<p>In his process-oriented practice, Toby Ziegler delves into the relation between images and the space in which they exist within an ever changing digital landscape. Through digital manipulation, Ziegler generates new pictorial spaces, to pitch form and function, original and replica, figuration and abstraction against each other. Taking found images as his starting point, often art historical, the artist uses digital tools to manipulate and interpret these images. These works hinge on the point of slippage between the virtual and the physical, the moment where the material becomes a mirror of reality and when it reverts back to pure colour and form - always questioning notions of subjectivity and objectivity as explored through the hand of the artist and the dehumanised psyche of the computer.<br><br></p> <p><em>It’ll Soon Be Over (Exquisite Corpse)</em> (2018) presents a filmic diptych juxtaposing two series of images, the title referring to a Surrealist game of assemblage. The left panel displays six source images, depicting fragments of the body, from Man Ray’s photograph of Lee Miller’s neck, to a Buddhist martyr self-immolating, to microscopic cancer cells. Ziegler feeds these images into a search engine which identifies similar images according to form, colour and tone, displayed in the right panel. Musical scores, dinosaurs, flowers, rashes, tattoos, couples, dead bodies and works of art all appear here, parading to the sound of a beating drum increasing their urgency.<br> <br></p> <p>The search engine takes a purely formal approach, almost art historical. The resulting body of images is apparently devoid of intentional content yet spans a very wide range. The search engine treats flesh as a material, with no hierarchy of importance. Guido Reni’s 17th century religious portrait of Saint Sebastian is likened to the bodies of pigs, boxers, battered women and corpses, bringing to the fore questions pertaining to violence and the body. While the search engine acts objectively, the work presents a panoply of image associations which forcefully appeals to the subjectivity of the viewer.<br> <br></p> <p>Ziegler’s work is held in public collections worldwide including Tate, London; the Arts Council England; British Council, London; Museum of Old and New Art – MONA, Tasmania; and Zabludowicz Collection, London amongst others.</p>