‘Paul Knight: L’ombre de ton ombre (The shadow of your shadow)’ presents new and recent photographic, textile and machine learning works that employ the artist’s relationship with his partner as an index of time, invoking the intimate present alongside the deep past and near future.
Knight’s ongoing photographic project, Chamber Music 2009–, records the life he shares with his partner Peter. Since they met in 2009, the series has accumulated glimpses into the domestic space of their relationship, with its images created through varying degrees of pre-meditation and chance; often the camera timer is set so that it simply captures what it sees. While the artist’s relationship provides the material for Chamber Music, Knight’s hand-loomed bedsheets weave other stories into their fabric. Pursuing research into various measures of time, Knight has become fascinated with the hypothesis concerning the gravitational influence of a binary star system that triggered periodic meteor impacts on Earth and caused the extinction of the dinosaurs and the rise of mammals. Through their abstract compositions, Knight’s textile works reference the atmosphere of a star system and the conceptually and physically intimate measure between two bodies.
Alongside photographic and textile installations, ‘L’ombre de ton ombre (The shadow of your shadow)’ unfolds a new project involving a conversation between two chatbots, trained with a pre-existing archive consisting of every text message sent between the artist and Peter in the first few years of their relationship. The complex ‘data’ generated by human love is echoed in the exhibition by markers of care and human touch, including a new series of sculptures cast from the artist’s and Peter’s ears in Libyan desert glass – an impactite formed by the energy of meteors hitting the Earth roughly twenty-eight million years ago. Together, these new and recent works meditate on microscopic and macroscopic scales of time and witnessing – both intimate and universal in scale.
A substantial publication will be produced for the exhibition that brings artistic and scientific perspectives into conversation with Knight’s evolving practice, co-published by UNSW Galleries and Monash University Museum of Art.
Presented in partnership with Monash University Museum of Art | Melbourne where the exhibition takes place 7 October – 9 December 2023. The exhibition features new works supported by the UNSW Galleries Commissioners Circle and MUMA Contemporaries. Publication produced with the support of Neon Parc, Melbourne.
Image: Paul Knight, Untitled (Chamber Music) 2009–, Monash University Collection, Melbourne.