artist / participant

press release

In Madrid Galeria Distrito Cu4tro is presenting Outside, an exhibition by the British artist Alex Hartley (1963). Since 1990 this young artist has been exhibited in important galleries internationally, like Victoria Miro in London or the Palazzo Delle Papesse in Sienna. In 1997 he took part in the Sensation exhibition of Young British Artists in the Saatchi Collection, showing at the Royal Academy in London and then later in the Brooklyn Museum in New York. In 2000 he won the Goodwood ART2000 Commission Prize for sculpture in London.

The installation, the light boxes and the photographs of Alex Hartley have to be seen as investigative tools for taking a completely original look at contemporary architecture. The work of Alex Hartley places itself between our experience of what is real and a notion of what is ideal. The glass represents a break between this reality (which is tangible, solid, accessible) and the other which is something whispered, muttered, barely perceptible, “hidden” on the other side of the glass.

The artist is playing with all that is fallible in the human eye. The capacity to see has always been imbued with the ability to discriminate between the true and the false, between what is real and what is imagined (“seeing is believing”, as they say). Yet in the work of this British artist it is the act of seeing itself which deceives us. The spectator is taken in by Alex Hartley , who is using the most reality-based of all artistic resources: photography. However it would be wrong to see Hartley as just a photographer. Photography does not make up the main purpose – nor the final result – of his artistic practice. It is more of an expedient. Because the images created by Hartley are put through a process of change which makes them useless as documentary or as ends in themselves.

Alex Hartley ’s one man show in the gallery Distrito Cu4tro in Madrid represents his return to the European scene, after a long period in Los Angeles. The artist dedicated a year to the study of the American Metropolis, looking at its most significant architectural forms. Taking a position somewhere between the serious and the humorous he studied the real and ideal in the architecture of Los Angeles. His investigation is about to be published in a collection of artists’ work by Black Dog Publishing in London, called LA Climbs. Alternative uses for Architecture.


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Alex Hartley - Outside