At Frieze Art Fair 2009, Sadie Coles HQ will install a solo project by British artist Hilary Lloyd. The gallery’s booth will house Studio #2 (2009), a walkthrough installation comprising four video projections on separate walls, a version of which was premiered at Le Consortium, Dijon earlier this year. Shot in fixed frame in Lloyd’s studio, each video is a silent and meticulous study of reflected light. The play of light across an ambiguous material – variously suggestive of Mylar, glass, water or mere haze – is captured to create fields of ethereal filmic and painterly abstraction: a dazzling white shard refracts light prismatically into beams; while on another wall concentric bands shimmer like giant eyes, calling to mind a psychedelic painting.
The differently sized projections vary between gradual metamorphosis, abrupt flashes and mercurial convolutions. The evanescent reflections that are scrutinised unerringly in each video are often reminiscent of phosphenes, the chimerical shapes seen with closed eyes, or possibly a symptom of a hallucinogenic. Splintered white beams evoke the experience of looking into the sun; and in one projection, bright flecks swim across the screen like floaters over the retina in bright light. The works in this way induce intense optical experiences that play out the very process of seeing. Moreover, the illusion of milky depth within the projections is intermittently counteracted by tectonic shifts or sudden changes in brightness, emphasizing the sensuous flat surface of Lloyd’s subject-matter.
The element of self-reflexivity in Studio #2 recalls English structural film with its emphasis on fixed perspectives, ‘duration’ and the materiality of the medium. As in previous installations by Hilary Lloyd, the projectors and DVD players have been suspended prominently into the space, with their wiring extending across the ceiling and walls, fetishising the technical equipment and its sculptural qualities and again underlining the physical substrate of the installation.
In the context of Frieze, this film installation also alludes unmistakably to painting. The concentrated projection of the videos onto the walls creates the impression of a gallery of canvases and perhaps imagines the mini retrospective of an abstract artist. The heavily distorted, streaked forms of the videos and their restrained ‘palettes’ call to indeed mind the giant abstracts of Gerhard Richter and the illusionistic kinetic quality of Op-Art paintings by the likes of Riley and Vasarély.
Hilary Lloyd (b. 1964) lives and works in London. Major solo shows include: Le Consortium, Dijon, France, 2009; Kunstverein München, München, Germany, 2006; Waiters, Henry Moore Foundation Contemporary Projects, Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy, 2003; Kino der Dekonstruktion, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, Germany, 2000; Chisenhale Gallery, London, 1999. Group shows include: Little Theatre of Gestures, Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland, 2009; Dispersion, ICA, London, 2008; and Art Sheffield 08. Yes, No & Other Options, Sheffield, UK, 2008. From October – December 2009, she will show new work at Tramway, Glasgow.