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Lee Maelzer
Desolation Porn

Curated by Iavor Lubomirov

Due to COVID-19 Platforms Project 2020 has been postponed to 2021. We look forward to representing Lee Maelzer’s work there next year. Meanwhile this year’s project has moved to an online version which you can follow live at https://platformsproject.com/platforms/cabledepot/ or on Instagram

Do follow the above links to see more of Lee Maelzer’s work.


14-31 May 2020

Booth 50
Platforms Project
Athens, Greece

http://www.platformsproject.com


“With subject matter that is frequently focused on marginal places and semi derelict architecture, much of Maelzer’s work is pervades by ominous and oppressive atmospheres. The sense of desolation and emptiness evoked by her paintings is intense and forensic – one often feels as if one is looking at the scene of some unknown crime. But her work has no simplistic naturalism – paintings of rough sleepers and gritty staircases are bathed in a golden, almost celebratory light, while huge images of splendid ancient trees are nevertheless eerie and threatening. Beauty and horror coexist. In Lee’s hands, the way the world is represented through the act of painting is frequently at odds with dominant perceptions of what is represented. For me it is these apparent contradictions between subjects and means of representation that make the experience of viewing her work so complex and compelling.”
- film artist John Smith, 2019

Cable Depot is proud to present Lee Maelzer at the 2020 Platforms Projects in Athens. This exhibition introduces a selection of collage works that Lee Maelzer has always made alongside her painting practice, both informing it and existing as finished pieces in themselves.

To anyone familiar with Lee’s oeuvre as an oil painter, these small pieces are both recognisable and completely new. They describe lushly detailed dystopian scenes alluding to environmental disaster with touches of science fiction, surrealism and the cinematic… and in this there is an immediate and natural affinity with her paintings – the stark landscapes, the eerie houses, the dramatic heavy skies and urbanised nature… and then, there are the colours, the greytones – some appropriated from the material used, some added on with a brush or pencil, thus blurring these works’ place as something distinct from Maelzer’s paintings, as something more than starting points.

But what is truly fascinating in these pieces is seeing the painter’s eye at work, appropriating not just from nature, but from some inner palette, that has been worked at and developed and is still searching, and which here seems to be revealed in a new way, different from Maelzer’s let’s say finished or finalised works on canvas.. Looking at these collages, one is able to follow Maelzer’s thought process, her gaze, to see alongside her, to experience what she is looking for and looking at in a way that seems to reveal more of the subject matter, the colour, the feeling, really the experiences or even universes that one finds in her paintings. And it is the very fact of the transitional nature of these works – that they are studies, looking beyond themselves into the next thing – that perhaps makes them so engrossing. They are not an end point arrived at, or concluded, they are pieces of a journey.

Of Lee’s paintings, which are not here to accompany the work, the extract quoted at the top by film artist John Smith (written for the Bryan Robertson Trust Award, received by Maelzer in 2019) reads like it could have been written in fact specifically for this, rather unique, show. And that perhaps says best how the work shown here fits into her larger body of work, really as a natural part rather than something properly separate. Yet it is at the same time something different and unusual and it is both interesting and appropriate that it is here presented outside the UK, to a largely new audience, most likely unfamiliar with Maelzer’s paintings. This intimate exhibition becomes, in this setting, an entry point into her world, rather than a departure or a tangent, as it could perhaps appear to be in the UK, where her often large-scale paintings are widely known and seen. It is wonderful to think of these works in this way, as a window into the work, located at the other end, opposite to some other doorway.