The hallowed paintings of art-history are viewed via a broken down puzzle collection, indirectly forming an installation painting.
Twenty-one, 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzles from the Clementoni Museum Collection – each depicting paintings by European artists dating from the fifteenth century to the twentieth century – have been put together, and then broken down into tiles of three by three pieces.
I believe historic paintings carry (in effect, if not in fact) the weight of text and words, both in the sense of the weight of literature about the paintings, the artists and the history, along with their symbolic currency. Encased in their own notoriety, the paintings become pinned as symbols of the stories surrounding them. The installation allows the paintings’ symbolic identities to bleed into one another and activates the white, negative space of the gallery.
Made initially as part of my masters, this work has had two iterations, first in Tender Validation and also in White Boy, White Girl, White Cube.
Puzzles, Dimensions Variable, 2007
Photographs by Nathaniel J. Cooke