MAT CHIVERS 'SYZYGY' - 8/3 - 9/4/13


“Consider yourself. I want you to imagine a scene from your childhood. Pick something evocative... Something you can remember clearly, something you can see, feel, maybe even smell, as if you were really there. After all, you really were there at the time, weren't you? How else would you remember it? But here is the bombshell: you WEREN'T there. Not a single atom that is in your body today was there when that event took place. Every bit of you has been replaced many times over... The point is that you are like a cloud: something that persists over long periods, whilst simultaneously being in flux. Matter flows from place to place and momentarily comes together to be you. Whatever you are, therefore, you are not the stuff of which you are made.”

Steve Grand, ‘Creation: Life and How to Make it’



For Mat Chivers a fascination with cloud structure serves as a metaphor for an affinity with human internal and external metamorphic process.

His process often embraces a collaborative aspect, utilizing scientists, scanning and rapid prototyping is in stark contrast to more traditional and spontaneous, direct carving using a hammer and chisel. The astonishing and ambitious two part work ‘Syzygy’ emphasizes these differing approaches in direct contrast. An intuitively carved sculpture in Spanish alabaster of a cumulus cloud stands upright reaching skywards appearing weightless, its surface scarred with a multitude of directional marks resulting in an undulating, transient quality. It is a work made from memory, copied instinctively whilst carving the stone. The accompanying sculpture sits more statically alongside, placed horizontally emphasising its weight. This component is the result of the intuitive ‘analogue’ sister piece being digitally scanned. This process results in a 3D virtual lattice comprising millions of triangles, which interpret the surface of the volume. Chivers then systematically reduced the number of triangles. The resultant polyhedron was then created in mirror polished Indian Black granite using a milling machine from the computer rendered geometry. It, by its nature, is a synthetic, corrupted, transformed; mirror copy of the hand carved element.

‘Outbreath’ presents a transient ‘cloud-like’ form produced from an exhalation. This life sized sculpture of the artists out-breath. In order to create a sculpture of his breath, Chivers collaborated with scientists at The University of Bristol to accurately photograph it in three-dimensions. Wearing a specially made black Lycra suit with just an opening for his mouth and nostrils, he put a pellet of solid carbon dioxide under his tongue, which gradually dissolved to become the visible vapour. With studio lighting positioned to just illuminate the breath it was photographed using high-speed digital cameras borrowed from the BBC Natural History Unit, these photographs were then used to make drawings in order to define the limits of the form. He then worked with a specialist in the latest envisioning technology and CAD software who used developed a three dimensional representation of the breath based on these drawings. This data was then used to fabricate the final sculpture employing rapid-prototyping process.

An interest in metamorphic process was present from an early age, as a child Chivers bred tropical moths and butterflies. The undercurrent that runs through all the works in this exhibition is the relationships between opposite states and a sense of mysterious, alchemical transformation - metamorphosis.

This exhibition also includes pencil drawings, which reflect and support Chivers interest in duality and contrasting extremes of perception. ‘Perceptual Ecology’ is a series of individually framed drawings in pencil on paper which provoke a dialogue between diverse subjects, exploring an interest in objects that indicate something about the way we perceive ‘our’ reality. Two particular pencil studies are of two sides of a brain - mirror opposites of one another. These have been copied from a life-size rapid prototype model of his own brain built from MRI scans – the right side is the intuitive and imaginative whereas the left relates to logic, reasoning and intellect, illustrating clearly notions of opposition and connectivity.

The duality of pencil on paper or chisel on stone contrasted with the digital processing of computer or machine, may represent a desired point of unity between physical and metaphysical extremes or perhaps they represent a paradox? We occupy a space at the centre of things - the meeting point. Chivers regards these contrasts as symbolic of ‘the intuitive’ and ‘the logical’ aspects of human cognition. The whole focus of reality is one of contrast or conflict and of attempting to reconcile a multitude of extreme states – of trying to make sense of and reunite that which may and perhaps should remain irreconcilable. This is a hypothesis, which echoes where we as human beings sit within the culture and the nature that has been created for us, and that we have created for ourselves.


Joseph Clarke, 2013



SYZYGY MAQUETTE
nylon (edition 12) | bronze (edition 8)
250 x 180 x 215 mm





SYZYGY
Quinto de Ebro alabaster & Indian black granite
1900 x 1400 x 2600 mm





UNTITLED (SYZYGY MIRROR) MAQUETTE
nylon (edition 12) | bronze (edition 8)
370 x 190 x 205 mm





UNTITLED MAQUETTE
nylon (edition 12) | bronze (edition 8)
250 x 185 x 285 mm





CHAIN OF EVENTS
Beer limestone
1200 x 600 x 500 mm





OUTBREATH
Nylon (edition ?)
300 x 232 x 208 mm





ALTER OUTBREATH
Nylon (edition ?)
300 x 232 x 208 mm





WHEN WORDS BECOME FORM
Glass filled nylon, 24 carat gold leaf, gesso, beeswax, wood
590 x 590 x 180 mm





WHEN WORDS BECOME FORM
Glass filled nylon, 24 carat gold leaf, black bole, beeswax, wood
590 x 590 x 180 mm





AS WITHIN, SO WITHOUT
Kilkenny limestone
360 x 280 x 280 mm





MAPPA UNIVERSALIS
Photogravure etching on paper, 780 x 580 x 50 mm





MAPPA UNIVERSALIS
Photogravure etching on paper, 780 x 580 x 50 mm





PERCEPTUAL ECOLOGY
Pencil on paper
750 x 550 mm





PERCEPTUAL ECOLOGY
Pencil on paper
750 x 550 mm





PERCEPTUAL ECOLOGY
Pencil on paper
750 x 550 mm





PERCEPTUAL ECOLOGY
Pencil on paper
750 x 550 mm





PERCEPTUAL ECOLOGY
Pencil on paper
750 x 550 mm





PERCEPTUAL ECOLOGY
Pencil on paper
750 x 550 mm





PERCEPTUAL ECOLOGY
Pencil on paper
750 x 550 mm





PERCEPTUAL ECOLOGY
Pencil on paper
750 x 550 mm





UNTITILED (MALE)
Pencil on paper
1360 x 1010 mm





UNTITILED (FEMALE)
Pencil on paper
1360 x 1010 mm





ILLUMINATI
Chemical etching & pigment on stainless steel, aluminium frame
1800 x 1000 x 50 mm





OVERLAY
HD digital film
10 min 10 sec





AFTER OVERLAY I
archival print on paper (edition 33)
260 x 210 mm





AFTER OVERLAY II
archival print on paper (edition 33)
260 x 210 mm





AFTER OVERLAY III
archival print on paper (edition 33)
260 x 210 mm





AFTER OVERLAY IV
archival print on paper (edition 33)
260 x 210 mm