Metropolis Contemporary Gallery // April 6 – May 3 2023
“There is no perception that is not impregnated with memory. To the immediate and present data we receive with our senses, we add thousands upon thousands of details from our past experience. In most cases these memories shift the emphasis of our real perceptions, from which moreover we retain only a few pieces of information – simple signs destined to remind us of images from the past.” Henri Bergsen, Matter and Memory (1896)
Following his participation in Metropolis Contemporary Gallery’s 2022 group exhibitions, Glitter in my Wounds and Money Shot, artist and teacher Mario Lautier-Vella returns with his first solo exhibition for the gallery entitled Tip of the Tongue.
Lautier-Vella presents work inspired by intimate encounters with people in a domestic space and private photos of collaborators submitted from around the world. The starting point for an artwork is the desire to visually record immediate responses to what is being seen, said, and felt. Yet once the rendezvous has concluded or a photo has been deleted, a fresh focus comes into play.
The inability to fully remember an experience leads to moments of tension and partial recall – the replaying of half-formed, ambiguous memories – or a complete memory block. Subsequently the work is shaped further. Initial marks are restated, altered, or erased, forgotten aspects remain open or settle into abstraction, and shape, light, shadow and detail flit between fact and fiction.
Tip of the Tongue follows on from Lautier-Vella’s 2019 solo exhibition, The Two Of Us and his 2022 solo exhibition On The Blink – two collections of work that also takes cues from notions of memory and perception as well as ideas around nostalgia and how the past affects the present. Another inspiration is the artist’s earliest memories of watching TV – the interplay of clear and poor-quality analogue signals, the clarity and deterioration of an on-screen image and deciphering what is accurate, part-truth or entirely lost.
Mario Lautier-Vella is an award-winning artist who works in London and Hertfordshire. His solo debut show, Like Home, took place at Watford Museum in 2012. Since then, he has shown his work across the UK and around the world. He is also a qualified art teacher and is the founder and principal tutor of his art school, The Fine Art Room.
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