Cole Contemporary is proud to present Zoe Paul's first solo show, Pass Quietly. Paul's practice incorporates sculpture and prints to explore our perception of history, and the treatment and presentation of historical periods and objects, with a particular focus on classical Greek sculpture.
The prints in Pass Quietly examine the constant reproduction and dissemination of images of cultural artefacts in historical reference books. Paul appropriates and abstracts the images to question and interpret the slip in meaning and context created by the constant display of these classical ruins, ranging from Greek busts and torsos to figurines of ancient gods. She asks what the effect of Western exoticism is on these objects, and what they now stand for versus the original intentions of their creators. The ongoing re-appropriation of these images and the subsequent re-layering of meaning is referenced directly by Paul through the technique she employs in the making of the prints. The images used are photocopies of mass reproduced images found in catalogues, posters and books, intended to be used as an experience and insight into the history they represent. By using an etching press to emboss the images, Paul creates further layers and shapes that disguise or conceal the original image even further.
Through the sculpture in Pass Quietly, Paul turns her attention to the mausoleum of the museum and the aesthetics of display. The painting of one half of the gallery in the same tone as the British Museum Greek Rooms directly references the display conditions in which we experience classical sculpture, and the manner in which ancient civilizations are now experienced via the mediation of a museum. Monument (with the consort of the sea) addresses our knowledge and understanding of historical objects and eras through archaeology and its subsequent display. The sculpture is made of tiles that have been cast from anthracite tile grout, a material that is normally found in cracks and negative spaces. This contemporary, domestic material acts as a contrast to the traditional pure and white aesthetic of classical sculpture, while the form of the sculpture references an abstracted figure, one that has decayed and dissolved, disfigured by time. Here is a suggested history, a monument to a past that is apparent but not understood.
Zoe Paul is currently studying sculpture at the Royal College of Art, having previously trained at Camberwell College of Arts. Recent exhibitions include Formal Inquiry, Cole Contemporary, X Artworks in a Straight Line (Seeking the Perfect Sphere), Hilary Crisp, London, and Between The Lines (with Eva Berendes), Cass Sculpture Foundation.