Matthew Day Jackson: Everything Leads to Another @ Hauser & Wirth

The All American superstar artist Matthew Day Jackson has landed in London for his first show at Hauser & Wirth gallery (north and south), titled ‘Everything Leads to Another’. Jackson is one of the most engaging and ambitious artists of his generation whose work references everything from impressionist painting to the surface of the moon, rap music, nuclear testing, paranormal activity and his preoccupation with death.

The exhibition takes a panoptical view of our recent history, revisiting and revealing the forces that have come to characterise our present through making connections between such culturally loaded forms. ‘Axis Mundi’ dominates the space of the north gallery. It is a reclaimed nose of a B29 cockpit bomber – the pressurised plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki – polished to a high mirror finish and filled with anthropological and archaeological curiosities as a modern Noah’s Ark. It is juxtaposed with a large, Drywall multi-panelled landscape of the moon in the format of Monet’s Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond and re-imagined LIFE magazine covers from the Atomic Age of the 50s and 60s.

In the south gallery, Jackson features work that deals with notions of mortality. Many of the works refer directly to the artist’s body, and through photography and sculpture the human form is reimaged and reformed. On one of the walls, X-rays of surgically implanted metal body parts belonging to both male and female friends, acquaintances and total strangers are put together to create a skeleton rescaled to the artist’s proportions. ‘Me, Dead at 37’ continues an ongoing series of photographs documenting fantasy scenarios of the artist’s own death.

Also in the south gallery, new video works featuring the artist, his family and friends are presented in a living room environment. ‘In Search of…Ghosts’ is a documentary based on the late 1970s American TV programme that investigated the paranormal and the unexplained. It discusses the formalisms of a haunting, and how the spectre of history makes itself known in the present. The video was shot on the site of the Apple II House used in the Nevada nuclear tests and features footage of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and a submerged B29 sitting silently at the bottom of Lake Mead in Nevada.

‘Everything Leads to Another’ explores elements of human life – a truly sophisticated exhibition with the ability to trigger questions about our own existence and the value or fragility of life..who we are, what we do, where we go.
|Kostas Prapoglou