Mat Collishaws seminal work Bullet Hole will feature in the 12th Istanbul Biennial
. Bullet Hole depicts a horrific wound to the top of a human scalp, the hair of the recipient plastered to the sides to reveal the entry point. Collishaw appropriated the original photograph from a pathology textbook; despite the works name, the wound was in fact caused by an ice pick. He then enlarged the photograph, creating fifteen transparencies each mounted on its own lightbox.
Unsurprisingly, Bullet Hole created an immediate sensation when it was first shown in Freeze, the now legendary exhibition curated by Damien Hirst in 1988, and has since become one of the pivotal images of the YBA (Young British Artist) movement. Indeed, Bullet Hole gave the exhibition its name; according to the catalogue: the title comes from Mat Collishaws lightbox, dedicated to a moment of impact, a preserved now, a freeze frame. The work received a wider audience in 1997 when it was exhibited at the Royal Academy as part of Charles Saatchis Sensation exhibition.
The subject matter that Collishaw explored early in his ouevre still preoccupies the artist today; by concentrating on disturbing or taboo images, his work continues to challenge the viewer both aesthetically and morally, as seen in his recent work For Your Eyes Only, a mesmerising three-part video tableaux of a pole-dancer set within three separate altarpieces.
Bullet Hole is in the permanent collection of MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Tasmania, Australia. Collishaws work has been acquired by other important museum collections including Tate, London, and Centre Pompidou, Paris. Recent selected solo and group exhibitions include: Curtain Call, The Roundhouse, London, 2011; Creation Condemned, Blain|Southern, London, 2010; Magic Lantern, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2010; Retrospectre, British Film Institute, London, 2010; Hysteria, Freud Museum, London, 2009. Collishaw lives and works in London.
The 12th Istanbul Biennial has been organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts and is sponsored by Koç Holding. The Biennial will explore the complex relationship between art and politics, with the work of Cuban-American artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres serving as the primary inspiration, as demonstrated in the Biennials title Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial), 2011. To remain in line with Gonzalez-Torres idea of Untitled and his desire to circumvent established artistic and political conventions, the organisers of the Biennial have chosen not to disclose the names of the participating artists until the Biennials opening.