This is the first solo exhibition of John Hilliard in the UK since 2000, and the first in any context to draw out a long recurring motif: the puncturing and interruptive monochrome at the centre of many of his works. The exhibition, curated by Duncan Wooldridge, will present key artworks spanning forty years of his practice.
Hilliard's time as a sculpture student at St. Martin's School of Art exposed him to a new pedagogy that favored the idea over the object. Students were asked to document all stages of their work, creating a visual overview of their artistic process, a project that influenced the trajectory of his career. Hilliard began by making site-specific installations in 1966, always documenting the installation with a photograph, eventually displacing the installation with the photograph itself. He first exhibited in 1969 at the Camden Arts Centre and these works have come to form the backbone of his practice.
Through his career he has continued to question the reliability of the photograph to represent the object or subject photographed. Hilliard has explored this through a recurring call to abstraction, allowing the camera to distort and affect what it sees through selective cropping, focus and exposure. He has displaced the perceived subject with expanses of monochrome comprising available objects - studio backdrops, walls, and projector screens. More recent works, such as 1, 2, 3 (2004) distort and abstract the image through more technical means: multiple exposures, perspectives, and colours, all of which interrupt the pictorial representation of the photographed subject and space. These works see Hilliard continuing to work with the full possibilities of making work with the camera and photographic image, incorporating installation and painting, to a new process of drawing with the digital files of his previous works.
This exhibition firmly places Hilliard as one of the foremost and innovative photo-conceptual artists working today. The exhibition will be accompanied by a monograph John Hilliard: Not Black and White, published by Ridinghouse, London.
John HILLIARD (b. 1945) studied sculpture at St Martin's School of Art, 1964-7, and has taught at art schools in London (Camberwell, Chelsea and the Slade) and Holland (Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht and the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam). His work is in collections including the Tate Gallery, London; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum, Tokyo; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Solo exhibitions in museums include Kunstverein, Hanover, 1997, Kunstverein Stuttgart, 1999 and Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Bologna, 2000.
Duncan Wooldridge is an artist, writer and curator. He curated the exhibition Anti-Photography at Focal Point Gallery in 2011, and writes for Art Monthly, Source, Elephant, Photoworks, and Eikon magazines. He is the Course Director of the BA (Hons) Photography at Camberwell College of Art, University of the Arts London.