A contemporary at Goldsmith’s College of Sarah Lucas, Michael Landy and Gillian Wearing, artist Collishaw has cultivated a reputation for provocative, even brutal, photographic and video work, touching on themes of drug abuse, sex and violence. One of his most famous works, Bullet Hole (1998), first shown at the ‘Freeze’ show curated by Damien Hirst, features a vast 15-panel photograph of a bullet head wound.
Central to Mat Collishaw’s work are the themes of illusion and desire, which he uses to draw us into an arena where every-day conventions are broken down and questioned.
Collishaw typically takes imagery which is at once shocking yet strangely beautiful in order to examine the beguiling nature of photography and the seduction of visual imagery. He uses contemporary images alongside techniques and styles which are reminiscent of much older art, for example he often utilizes a mosaic effect which, while alluding to religious art and Ancient Rome, is also now associated with pixelated digital imagery.
In this way Collishaw brings together a variety of connotations in one piece that is both traditional and contemporary; dichotomies of life and death and attraction and repulsion are central to Collishaw’s art which tests our natural responses to disquieting imagery when dressed as sacred, slick or stunning.
Known most widely for his photographs and videos, Collishaw’s work also includes installation, drawing and painting.