< Exhibitions
The Price of Nails
Susan Collis
Feb 22, 2013 - Mar 23, 2013

For her first personal exhibition at the gallery, Susan Collis takes over the first floor, with new works, some of which created specifically for this space. The heart of Collis's work lies in the representation of everyday life, the commonplace and the accidents that constitute it. With an impressive technical virtuosity, she focuses on details that give substance to the fabric of reality.

The visitor is greeted by You know you want it consisting of a neon sign bought on the Internet and a box containing some boxes of nails. Exploring the polysemy of the word "nails", Susan Collis emphasises the ambiguous character of the piece: beyond its commercial function, the neon takes a semiological, almost Magrittian connotation (depicting the object and the word that designates it). In addition, the nails are freely available to the public. In this act, Collis's intention is not so much to refer to the work of a particular artist, as to restore a symbolic value to the humble nail.

In the right-hand room, Malaprop combines the prodigality of nature (the sea in this case, since the piece is made of shells) with an obsessive work at the crossroads of art brut and Sunday DIY. The technical mastery of marquetry and inlay that we can see in Forget me is also striking in the drawing. The diptych Each to Their Own, drawn patiently in lead pencil, an "endurance drawing" as the artist calls it, gives the illusion of a spot of white paint mark on a black background and is so precise that the eye is completely misled. Collis manages to pair off activities that seem at first sight to be opposites: materials seem to be of low quality yet, on the contrary, they are precious; what looks dirty is extremely clean and meticulously prepared, while what seems untidy is actually arranged in perfect order. We can see that characteristic particularly in the work with the tongue-in-cheek title: Everybody needs good neighbours.

The idea that "seeing in detail would bring us closer to the act of knowledge" is questioned by the philosopher Georges Didi-Huberman who describes the different moments that make up our understanding of a work by analysing the detail (the approach for noticing detail/"cutting up" which enables us to get to the heart of a work/the reassembly of all these parts). Composed of various elements (wood custom-printed laminates, hand-printed cotton, vinyl stickers and c-type photographic prints, etc.), the work resembles a collection of scrap materials, yet all the parts are made meticulously by hand. Again, the viewer is deceived intentionally and is required to come closer to become fully aware of the quality of the details.

In the left-hand room, once again we find mystification with You go your way, I'll go mine on the table and in State Border, where the work has painstakingly assumed the appearance of a damaged plank of wood, worthless and unfit to be used for anything.

The process developed by Collis allows everyone to understand that often the eye exerts an abusive authority over our perception and beyond that, over our mind and our thoughts.