Mathew Hale 

Der Mond vs Le Monde 

22 April to 13 June 2009

DER MOND v LE MONDE is Mathew Hale’s first solo exhibition in London for five years. It consists of five works: one two-projector and one three-projector slide piece; a constructed painting (that could equally be described as a wall-mounted sculpture); and two large collage works. He has also produced an artists’ book, or more precisely a ciné-roman of one of the slide pieces, TAXI STOP FIJI, that will be available free to visitors to the exhibition.

Hale’s work has many possible points of departure: a found photograph, a scrap of paper, a page torn from an instructive and obscure book, a bit of out-moded pornography, some anachronistic advertising from the 1970s or 1980s and so forth. Once plucked from a huge collection of such material amassed in his domestic studio space, the work evolves like an unplanned journey – both moving away and turning back on itself… The path of discovery in Hale’s work is the subject of his work, providing it with narrative and process.

With its roots in the collage traditions of political photomontage, dadaist assemblage and free associative surrealism, Hale’s work prioritises process over methodology or style. It activates a complex web of references that takes in history, politics, literature, and philosophy, as much as it does sex, religion, art, architecture and popular culture. To engage with the work is to become carried along by clues that lead to other clues and then circuitously lead somewhere else unexpected yet somehow familiar. Sometimes the clues are visual, sometimes they are language based, often they are both. Even when the work is finished and exhibited it is in a state of flux, the meaning is not fixed. Hale likes slippage of meaning and this constant state of ambiguity and openness for (mis)interpretation or confusion. He explains the title of the show as follows: ‘[in German] ... and strikingly weirdly, “der Mond” means “The Moon” and, as we all know, “Le Monde” means “The Earth”. How can a word flip so totally by crossing a border? I am making a work for the show which hinges on their being apparently identical (almost) and yet meaning precisely the opposite – I wonder how it happened.’

Mathew Hale was born in the UK and studied in London. He has lived in Berlin since 2000. He is represented by Galerie Wentrup, Berlin and by Galerie Michel Rein, Paris and Brussels, to whom we are grateful for their contribution to the production of the artist’s book.

The First 15 Minutes of Taxi Stop Fiji, a cine-roman, has been published on the occasion of Mathew Hale's exhibition. Click here to buy a copy.

This project has been generously supported by: