Inside the White Cube
1 May – 7 July 2013
White Cube Bermondsey
Working in video, sculpture and photography, Erin Shirreff exploits the everyday ambiguity of objects to create works that are as austere as they are suggestive. In a series of 31 unique photographs, No. 1 – 31 (all 2013), of which four were exhibited, Shirreff conjures celestial bodies from the most commonplace of sources, creating images of faraway moons or asteroids from the daily residue of her studio. Likewise, a group of five shelf-mounted sculptures in graphite-pigmented plaster, titled Catalogue, 9 parts for instance, or Catalogue, 17 parts (both 2013), according to the number of discrete elements they are composed of, have an otherworldly presence. Each sculpture confronts the viewer with a range of mysterious forms that are organised like a mysterious archive. Shirreff imbues mundane objects with a spectral tone, inviting the viewer to wonder whether they harbour information or substance, or whether the essence of these objects resides only in their tactile surfaces and textured contours.
Shirreff has, over the past few years, developed a unique video idiom: she re-photographs a found photograph hundreds of times under a range of different lighting conditions before digitally suturing the stills into a seamless video. Works such as Roden Crater (2009) and Lake (2012) take a landscape photograph as their starting point, but Shirreff’s process transforms the still picture into a dynamic play of light and form. In a new video, Medardo Rosso, Madame X, 1896 (2013), Shirreff applies her method to a historical photograph of a well-known Medardo Rosso sculpture. Shirreff subverts the supposedly fixed image of an analogue image, creating the experience of shape, perspective and duration we normally experience with sculpture. Medardo Rosso, Madame X, 1896 generates a strange alchemy of light, conjuring breathtaking atmospheric effects from a modest set of tools.
Erin Shirreff was born in 1975 in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. In 2005 she graduated from Yale with an MFA in sculpture. Recent exhibitions include Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2013), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, California (2013), ‘The Locker Plant’, Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas (2011) and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia(2010).