FRIEZE WEEK: Toby Ziegler

For 'The Cripples', Ziegler put a highly pixelated image of a Piero Della Francesca fresco in a car-park

‘Installation View – Toby Ziegler, The Cripples, Q
‘Installation View – Toby Ziegler, The Cripples, Q-Park, London, 2012’ Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery.

Taking the Frieze train off the tracks, artist Toby Ziegler is exhibiting his work in a car-park. Over the utilitarian multi-storey concrete space, his accumulation of the digital meets material takes the form of a highly pixelated image of a Piero Della Francesca fresco applied to eight panoramic light boxes programmed to dim sporadically. The aluminium sculptures lit by the fluctuating images, modelled on 3D software then 'made in the studio using fairly primitive technology' feature in this 10-day-only immersive environment that offers an imaginative accompaniment to the stud walls and bright lights of Frieze...

Dazed Digital: What influenced the exhibition?
Toby Ziegler:
The sculptures were triggered by the Bruegel painting, and on first seeing it I was reminded of a particularly hideous family portrait from my parents' photo album. But as they evolved several other associations surfaced : fragments of classical sculpture, the Laocoon group at the Vatican, Courbet's Origine du Monde, Rodin's Balzac, Francis Bacon's Figures at the Base of A Crucifixion, Sol Lewitt's open cubes. The work also started to refer to war porn from Iran and Afghanistan that I stumbled across on the internet through reading about online censorship and nowthatswhaticalledfuckedup.com.

DD: What is 'The Cripples'?
Toby Ziegler:
The Cripples is a painting by Bruegel the elder which depicts five amputees with crutches and wooden legs. It was a point of departure for the show.

DD: How did it come about?
Toby Ziegler:
When I first started showing I was working collaboratively with a friend of mine called Christopher Landoni who now, tragically , is dead. We would seek out a particular building and persuade the owner to lend it to us in return for a piece of work. The installation would be conceived specifically for the space. This was a similar situation.

DD: Why a car-park not a gallery?
Toby Ziegler:
Since I started thinking about this project I knew I wanted it to happen in an underground space. I spent a lot of time looking at subterraneabritannica.com which is an encyclopedia of bunkers, tunnels and caverns, but decided that I wanted a space that was still in use and was more mundane . I embarked on a tour of London's underground car-parks and probably visited 50 car-parks last year. The acoustics in the space were very important , and I think it's appropriate that this is a space that echoes. At one point I was considering making a sound piece, a subliminal drone, as part of the installation , but having spent some time down there I realised that the space provides it's own soundtrack: your footsteps reverberate, the tube trains rumble, cars approach from the upper floors, sounds are distorted and lose resolution as they bounce to and fro across the space. The space is contemporary and utilitarian , but also somehow archaeological. I was conscious of the speed of the place. Underground car parks are places you are urged to get in and out of as quickly as possible, but I hope the installation has a sense of slow time.

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