Shelf Life: Neil Gall


Shelf Life: Neil Gall


29 × 23 cm | 9 × 11 in
220 ills | 176 pages

Contributors: Simon Groom, Johanna Malt, Charles Darwent


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Shelf Life is the first book dedicated to the work of the contemporary artist Neil Gall. Bold and experimental, Gall is enjoying a burgeoning international reputation. Gall employs variety of techniques, including modelling, assemblage and photography. He uses unconventional materials such as duct tape, plasticine and wire to create sculptures that form the basis for his haunting, complex paintings.

Gall is best known for his “S & M sculpture paintings”, which echo the disquiet of Hans Bellmer’s dolls and conjure the debris of everyday life into stunted, contorted and amputated characters. They are tortured pictures of a tortuous process; fetish objects in the cult of Gall’s own practice.

Neil Gall’s paintings are always showing us something, however strange the objects portrayed. Magnifying the scale so that every tiny detail of an object can be captured, they are intricate and methodical investigations of aspects of reality that our own perception can often miss. The things subjected to this treatment are equally worthy of attention, whether they are as ordinary and familiar as toy farm animals, chocolate bars and burst balloons, or as creepy and hard to place as the bound black figures of works like Tyburn and Performance.

The paintings draw us in through illusionism and recognition, whilst always reminding us of what we can’t recognise and don’t see. Their apparently straightforward concern for photorealist accuracy and transparency belies a complex set of paradoxes that intersect within them. Detached and observational on the surface, they are in fact bound up with layers of fantasy and with what they cannot show us about the objects they rigorously represent.

Shelf Life is a thought-provoking exploration of this exciting artist, with insightful written contributions by Simon Groom, Johanna Malt and Charles Darwent alongside stunning reproductions of the artist's work. Neil Gall studied at the Slade School of Art, and prior to this publication was looking towards exhibitions at Galleria Fabjbasaglia, Bologna in Autumn 2007 and his second solo show at Hales Gallery, London in Spring 2008.