Wil Murray: Die Welt in Farben

May 9 - June 14, 2014


Using as source material a turn of the 20th century photo portfolio book bought at a flea market on Berlin’s Unter Den Linden,  Murray continues his experiments in traditional photographic methods and their eternally renewed relationship to painting. For Die Welt In Farben, Murray re-configures the photo lithograph of one of Europe’s great sights found on each of the book’s 41 pages as a collage made from his great stash of photo and painted imagery. These collages are then photographed on large-format  negatives and printed traditionally, in black and white on fiber-based paper by master printer Bob Carnie. Murray then colours each page by hand, using long-since discontinued archival photo oils, in the manner that photos were coloured at the beginning of the 20th century. These replacements are then re-attached to the original pages, completing the substitution of one definition of original with another.

Literary narratives loom large in Murray’s practice and this project allows him to develop his collage based painting practice as an ode to narrative’s earthly vessel: the stacked pages of the book. Each collage plays off the last, figures and elements re-enter the narrative as characters and settings as one might expect in a John Hawkes paperback. This piece’s grand substitution, the main subject of his narrative, speaks of Murray’s interests in questions of authorship, autographic vs. calligraphic marks and the meaning of materiality, objecthood and age in the face of contemporary digital negation of temporality .