Gili Tal’s work has drawn on genres of commercial photography such as that of real estate, imitating its tropes in an attempt to fathom how the urban environment is fetishised. She has come to use architectural elements such as billboards and street lights, as well as figuring a passive subject-spectator position, condemned to watching as various developments go untrammelled around her, by deploying domestic objects such as roller blinds and windows.
Tal‘s The Cascades consists of a series of digital prints on canvas effectively ‘cladding’ the inside of the Remise in an irregular chequer-board pattern. Titled Windows (Rainscreen Wash), they feature a repeated motif simulating rain and drawn in the style of stock image graphics. Rendered in shades of blue and featuring a literally washed out ‘Shutterstock’ watermark, the pictures pertain to the appearance of new builds as seen from the ground, and the perceived effects of light, water and shadow on glass – an effect itself referenced by the aluminium cladding styles of numerous contemporary facades. As such the hang unfolds in disregard to the space’s features, the pictures gliding over and in front of them instead. That this layering effect also recalls a series of browser windows left open, and their suspension at the front of a screen, returns the work in part to the digital space where it, or indeed building facades, might be dreamt up. It asks how simulated images, and their relationship to the generic, exert an influence on both the material construction and subjective experience of the analogue world, and vice versa, and which takes primacy.
Against everyday life, a portal to another place is always enticing. Given that, the appeal of elements such as windows or shutters to various digital brands is palpable, and not least when said elements are imbued with the optimism of clarity of vision. Tal’s work is also susceptible to these thresholds, especially the draw of the virtual elsewhere. It’s just that hers tend to come with a moment of disenfranchisement that renders forward motion less smooth. In these pictures we see ‘Shutterstock’ and ‘Windows’ conflated to meet a series of inversions. The canvases bring the outside (the weather) in, and place an inside feeling (rain) on the ‘outside’ – it is splayed out all over the surface of the picture. Instead of gazing out we appear to look in. But to what? The view that these windows should be opening unto has been photographed to near oblivion. Instead of a window, and its pervasive fantasies of roaming, or indeed reflecting, our gaze is razed and bounced back. Echoing Tal’s works taking in exhibition photography and its strange relationship to solipsism, we encounter another kind of reflection where a window should be.
Gili Tal (*1983) lives in London. Recent solo exhibitions include For the Sake of Those Who Would Discriminate Between Hallucinations, Galerie Buchholz, Berlin (2020); Mastering the Nikon D750, gta Ausstellungen, Zürich (2019); Civic Virtues, Cabinet, London (2018); Roaming, Jenny’s, Los Angeles (2016), and Paris Gardens London, Goton, Paris (2016).
Lessingplatz 12, 38100 Braunschweig, Germany