...in the Side Room
Departing from a conclusion, this show marks the final iteration of flags for countries that don’t exist but bodies that do, a series of photographs documenting six years amongst the tender lives that populate Matić’s universe and the persistence of perpetual love in unrequited places. Distilling moments that pinball between the intimate, extroverted, and societal, each still image pulses and radiates—amassing a velocity that will propel forth even as the artist releases the photographs to a personal past tense.
Candles flickering in mourning for Brianna Ghey’s murder, friends draped in mesh at Glastonbury, blanketed bouquets honouring Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, a poster at UK Trans Pride inscribed with the declaration “I am thriving in spite of…,” camera flashes illuminating Matić’s wife clad in latex; these pictures are smoldering stars that insist they will not fade as they were captured at their brightest moment. Framed alongside Matić’s handwritten notes, they reflect on this chapter of their life from the edge of glory—accepting the grief, messiness, and labyrinthine truths that will clear new spaces for love to grow.
Asserting their presence while acknowledging their absence, a solitary self portrait faces the constellation of images and writing on the opposing gallery wall. Their first untitled work, Matić’s eyes are in soft-focus, a gesture of not yet reaching clarity about what is behind and ahead. In a practice driven by asking why, the artist takes a moment of pause, considering how a fixed series will evolve once filtered through emotion, dimension, and time. Though a receding galaxy, kiss them from me emanates with care, depicting a love that will not diminish, but instead metamorphose between its eulogy and infinity.
Rene Matić (b. 1997, Peterborough) lives and works in London. They have had solo exhibitions at Arcadia Missa, London; Martin Parr Foundation, Bristol; Kunstverein Gartenhaus, Vienna; South London Gallery, London; Studio Voltaire, London; Quench Gallery, Margate; VITRINE Gallery, London; among others. Their work has been included in group exhibitions at Studio/chapple, London; The Whitaker Museum & Art Gallery, Rossendale; Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry; High Art Arles, Arles; Sadie Coles HQ, London, UK; bold Tendencies, London; Kunsthall Stavanger; Schlossmuseum, Linz; and Saatchi Gallery, London; among others. Their work is currently on view in a group exhibition, Dreaming of Home, at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, New York through January 7, 2024.