24 Sunday 24th November


Maureen Paley

21 Herald Street, London, London, E2 6JT

Price: Free
Starts: Sat 23rd Nov
Ends: Sun 5th Jan

Maureen Paley is pleased to present the fourth solo exhibition at the gallery by James Welling.

‘Greek and Hellenistic antiquities are the subject of Planograph. I started photographing ancient objects in museums ten years ago and in June I visited Greece for the first time.

When I took up photography in my twenties, I thought of the medium as a time machine. This summer as I processed my digital camera files from Greece to mimic black and white 19th century film—white skies and dark earth tones—I realised that I was looping back to this early intuition about photography. Modelling 19th century technology is a form of time travel, a visual return to the albums of early archaeological expeditions, the first photographic imaginings of Greece.

Recently I discovered flexible plate lithography, a form of planographic printing. Planographic plates print from a flat surface, as opposed to relief printing, such as etching. I image my plates on a laser printer, sponge with water and ink with traditional artist’s oil paint. Rather than printing the result, I present the inked surfaces as photographic objects.

I came to photography through books printed by such legendary houses as the Triton Press, Meridian Gravure and Rapoport Printing. In the matte tonalities and halftone dots of Planograph, I am paying tribute to the 20th century printers who introduced me to photographic seeing.’
- James Welling

Portrait of Avidia Plautia, 2019
Avidia Plautia was a Roman noblewoman who lived in the first century A.D. Photographed in the Yale University Art Gallery.

Eleusis. Kallichoros (Well of the fair dances), 2019
The goddess Demeter was discovered by the daughters of Metaneira sitting beside the “Well of the fair dances” in Eleusis.

Athlete’s torso, 2019
Photographed in the National Archaeological Museum.

Hephaisteion. Opisthodomos (inner shrine) from the east porch, 2019
I visited the Hephasiteion at dawn and peered into the inner shrine of Hephaistos, the god of artists and trades people.

Acropolis. Cloudburst and thunder, 2019
The eastern porch of the Erechtheion with the Parthenon in the middle distance.

Erechtheion. North porch. Sunset, 2019
Barely visible in the floor of the north porch is an aperture which reveals the mark of Poseidon’s trident when he created a salt water spring on the Acropolis.

Erechtheion. Western façade. Sacred olive, karyatids and old temple of Athena Polias in foreground, 2019
Athena’s gift to Athens was the olive tree planted on the western side of the Erechtheion. (The present tree was planted in 1950’s.) The six Karyatids originally held small vessels thought to contain chthonic offerings to the mythical King Kekrops buried under the Erechtheion. Remains of the massive old temple of Athena Polias hug the southern flank of the Erechtheion.

Head of a goddess. 2nd century A. D. marble imitation of a 5th - 4th century B. C. chryselephantine (gold and ivory) sculpture, 2019
The tears are oxidation stains from bronze eyelashes. Photographed in the Acropolis Museum.

Parthenon. West pediment. Crowning akroterion (floral ornament), 2019
A four-meter high floral ornament adorned the top the Parthenon. Photographed in the Acropolis Museum.

National Garden. 7:34 AM, June 20th. Acanthus, 2019
The acanthus leaf is depicted on the Corinthian column and in Athens I saw it growing almost everywhere. Photographed in the National Garden.

Eleusis. Lesser propylaia. Dentil fragment with ioulos, (grain sheaf), 2019
The Eleusian Mysteries, propitiation rites to the Goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone, celebrated fertility and agriculture. What transpired in the Mysteries is unknown but grain was thought to have been venerated.

Propylaia. South pteron (wing) looking toward the Saronic Gulf, 2019
Of the three structures on the Acropolis, the Propylaia is the only one you can walk inside and experience spatially.



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