Cognoscenti in a Room Hung with Pictures

This show is largely made up of gallery paintings – contemporary interpretations of a genre mainly popular in the 17th century. Sometimes known as cabinet pictures, these ranged from portraits of specific collections to imaginary galleries with complex allegorical content. The example shown here is by an unknown Flemish artist – the interior is probably imaginary, its contents most likely existing paintings and objects owned by the collector. READ MORE

Art Maze   Vincit Amor   Ancient and Modern
Death of the Avant-Garde   Past Modernism
Continued from above...

It occurred to me that this genre offered scope for the odd joke at the expense of the contemporary art scene, a sideways glance at the frantic succession of avant-garde styles that has characterised 20th century art and the extension of a series of paintings shown in my last exhibition which featured supernatural interaction between art (mainly old masters) and the gallery space. Precisely what is going on in the paintings I would rather leave open to speculation but taking into account these are not commissions, I have provided a key (in the back of this catalogue) that lists all the works of art depicted, thereby providing some clues. You may, however, prefer to do your own detective work. Some depictions are quite close to the originals, others are adaptions or pastiches.

In general terms, these paintings continue a quest to rediscover and look afresh at disciplines largely ignored by contemporary artists for decades. As the millennium draws near and the latest bid to attract attention in the contemporary art world is as likely to provoke weariness as shock, it seems to me that this approach has as much chance of surprising the gallery visitor as any other.

David Piddock

Click here to send an email to David