Blow Up at Parafin Gallery, London

Throughout July and August, Parafin gallery are holding the aptly named exhibition, Blow Up. In its exploration of the landscape of contemporary painting, the show identifies the relationship between painting, photography and reality as key – the geology that underpins that landscape. It takes Michelangelo Antonioni’s iconic swinging London film, Blow Up (1966), as a starting point from which to excavate the complexities of current artists’ use of photographic material in their creative process.

While some works in the show respond directly to Antonioni’s film, others simply echo the themes therein. Importantly, though, all of the exhibitors work with paint and engage with pre-existing images. Common to each of their unique approaches is the basic notion that painting acts as a catalyst to dissolve the boundary between reality and fiction. It does so by fragmenting and reconstructing the found image to reveal new, perhaps previously hidden meanings.

Conversely, as fact and fiction mix on the canvas, it becomes a cloudy veil that obscures the truth. Hence, Antonioni’s fundamental mistrust of images: ‘What is beyond an image cannot be known.’ But there’s always the hope that exhibitions like this just might offer us a glimpse!

© Uwe Wittwer, The Black Sun (After Antonioni) (2012)

pfn_blow-up_brown© Hannah Brown, Victoria Park 4 (2015)

pfn_blow-up_woods© Clare Woods, Common Parts (2014)

by Thomas Allen

Blow Up: Painting, Photography and Reality will run from July 1 to August 22, 2015 at Parafin, 18 Woodstock Street, London W1C 2AL

All images courtesy of Parafin