Tobias Collier’s work can be seen as an attempt to visually articulate a great epistemological challenge: that of the human mind encountering the intellectually imponderable. Encompassing elements of sculpture, installation, drawing, performance and video, Tobias Collier’s practice partly relies upon the translation of scientific research methodologies to the processes of art making. Using Art as their field of enquiry, the subsequent works function as mechanisms within the context of a research practice and present a unique combination of scientific processes with poetic artistry.
Playing with current ideas around Astronomy and Cosmology, Tobias Collier’s quotidian metaphors examine our cultural relationship to outer space, using objects of daily existence. They highlight the limitations and inadequacy of man-made processes such as logic (modelling, hypothesizing, inferring and inducing), analogies and metaphors when attempting to comprehend systems and structures that extend beyond our everyday experience.
Eva Langret, The Delfina Foundation
All the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and…the whole temple of man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins–all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.
The revelation of science that our universe, governed by the second law of thermodynamics, is ultimately fated to a cold quiet ‘heat death’, becomes an unavoidable issue for the work of London based artist Tobias Collier. His response is to propose the pursuit of necrodelic reverie. Small, yet hugely ornate, pointillist drawings are produced as a result of hours of ritualised practice. Like moments in an ongoing process, or records of a timeless activity, the end results are un-human, naturalised, nebulous star-fields or perhaps cloudscapes. In his sculpture references to collapsing or eroded structures, chemical reactions and combustions abound. Conscious cosmic thought entropically linked to the arrow of time, reconciled to universal destiny.
Art paradigms exist as emergent nodal points, mapping an expansive language of reference, subject to the universal power of viral replicators. The insubstantial, frequently ambiguous and increasingly deterritorialised nature of contemporary fine art practice, coupled with the drive to radicalism and expectation of privatisation in the individual of a generation whose synapses are already stimulated by a lifetime of ultra-exposure creates a climate of perceived incontinuity.
The desire to achieve resolution of this cognitive dissonance in the autopoietic system that is self, induced by the accelerated horizontal transmission of memetic replicators from the rhizomatic field of experience to the selfplex memepool is what gives rise to further mutations. This will in itself force the production of a succession of increasingly virile replicators, more able to fulfil the requirements of precise, multiple and durable infections. Ultimately a positive feedback loop is in place that, in its attempts to homogenise existence, finds itself with the increased obligation to the position of active ambivalence or becoming.