THROUGH THE LABORIOUS PROCESS OF
THROUGH THE LABORIOUS PROCESS OF BURNISHING FINE GRAPHITE TO PRODUCE SUBLIME PLANAR SURFACES, Matthew Allen will present a brand new suite of polished graphite works in his rst solo exhibition at Sullivan Strumpf Singapore, which opens on 14 October.
In the 1970s, American artist Michelle Stuart took paper into the landscape, where she massaged soil and graphite into its surface, tracing over the uneven ground to catch its shadow. These scrolls reveal the texture of a site, a worn piece of ground that has taken shape over millennia. Her works have served as a point of departure for Matthew Allen’s recent graphite works presented in As a Surface Becomes a Space.
Graphite is a mineral compound. Its molecular structure is related to that of diamond. While diamond is the hardest of minerals and graphite is the softest, both are a form of carbon in a state of metamorphosis. That is, they have undergone material transformations because of heat and pressure beneath the Earth’s crust before being extracted through mine all over the world.
As Allen burnishes ne graphite into the surface of paper or linen, he transforms this dark mineral powder into a glimmering eld. Conducting and re ecting the light around it, the graphite takes on something of a diamond’s sheen. This time, the heat and pressure that have transformed the substance are not the result of geological movements, but rather of the artist’s hand. These works are the result of many hours of labour, and while each arises from the same process, none are exactly the same. Some are hard smooth skins with occasional pock-marks, while others appear feathered, revealing the weft and warp of their linen base. They take up to ve days to make, during which the artist pinches the thumb and fore nger together and leans into the work to squeeze this substance between his body and the page.
October 14 (Saturday) - November 5 (Sunday)
6 Lock Road Singapore 108934