Mat Collishaw

Narcissus

1990

Medium
Photograph on paper
Dimensions
Image: 193 x 292 mm
frame: 401 x 451 x 37 mm
Collection
Lent from a private collection 2000
On long term loan
Reference
L02304

Display caption

In this self-portrait, Collishaw has modelled himself on the beautiful
youth, Narcissus from Greek mythology. Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection in a woodland pool, and
died of sorrow.

 

Collishaw transfers the myth to an unglamorous urban setting, where
the very idea of beauty is brought
into question. The woodland is now
an alleyway, the trees are concrete bollards, and the pool a muddy puddle. He holds the button of the camera shutter-release in his left hand in a gesture which echoes that used in classical painting to conceal genitalia.

 

Gallery label, September 2004

Technique and condition

Silver gelatine photograph printed on Agfa photographic paper. A black and white process that uses a gelatine emulsion of silver bromide. Silver gelatine bromide is now the most popular black and white photographic printing material. The image is centred on the support with thin blank borders. There are no inscriptions. The print is permanently framed in a simple wooden L-section frame finished in white paint and surrounded by a white window mount. On acquisition the print is in good condition. It tends to undulate across the surface plane because the photographic paper is coated on the front side only.

Calvin Winner
October 2001