The Great American Songbook
10/02/24 - 01/03/24






Closer Still
A Solo Exhibition by Graham Silveria Martin
12.01.24 - 03.02.24
GROVE London
9B Battersea Sq., SW11 3RA, London, UK

Opening: Friday, January 12th, 4-8 pm

Paris, 1933. André and Elizabeth Kertész (née Salamon) pose for their wedding photograph. André, later to be recognised as one of the great modernist photographers, is a master with his lens, but Elizabeth needs no introduction to the arrangement: having posed for André in their native Hungary since 1919, she knows well that each capture requires three seconds of stillness.

This image, itself a re-staging of another photo taken in 1921, is burdened with a heaviness that mars the happy occasion. When compared with the earlier image, Elizabeth’s expression ‘is no longer so giving’ writes Kevin Breathnach, ‘instead it is guarded, austere, blank in a manner not to be elliptical. Into the camera, she stares with a look entrusting little’ (Tunnel Vision, 2019).    

Despite the passion that had withstood six years of separation, there had been bumps in the newlyweds’ road. André, overcome with an unbearable loneliness that came with a sudden, extended silence from Elizabeth, married photographer Rosza Klein in secret. Elizabeth had been sending letters to the wrong address.

Perhaps by accident, perhaps as an affront to her notoriously precise husband, Elizabeth’s left hand produces the slightest of tremors. A small, concentrated blur can be seen in the bottom left-hand corner of the image.

In their forty-four years of marriage, until Elizabeth’s death in 1977, Kertész would produce the image four times. Once in its entirety, in which the imperfection is clear to see, and three more times in which the image is cropped.

In each of these croppings, the repeated image is mined for different details; features mapped over their intersection with time — the tick, tick, tick of the three-second exposure – are magnified, exploded, reconfigured, and forgotten. Each cropped image, in its selection of particular elements, creates a temporal vastness within the stillness of the photograph. Time, displaced by the medium, has not been arrested; merely quieted. If you look hard enough, that tick, tick, tick can still be heard.

In Closer Still, Graham Silveria Martin deploys different source material – actor Al Parker in the Surge Studios production Turned On (1982) – re-staging a series of almost indistinguishable filmic frames that span a fraction of a second, each cropped, devoid of the context originally captured by the lens of director Steve Scott, and asks similar questions: how does time expand or contract in these images? How do the tiniest of differences become amplified in repetition? Importantly, how does desire map onto both the passage of time and the minutiae of recognition?

Graham Silveria Martin is a Scottish artist based in London. He graduated from the Royal College of Art with an MA in Painting in 2021. Recent exhibitions include Outside of History, The Who Gallery, London (2023), Talisman, Incubator, London (2023), Stilled Images, Tube Gallery, Palma (2023), Portals, Huxley-Parlour, London (2022), Internal Weather, Sid Motion Gallery, London (2022), and Tomorrow 2021, White Cube, London (2021). He is a recipient of the Huxley-Parlour FOUR x THREE grant, the Jerwood Arts 1:1 FUND grant, and the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant. Graham’s multidisciplinary practice explores themes of desire, connection, trace, and memory. Recent work is informed by Fiona Anderson’s writing on cruising as method; a furtive approach to artistic practice and research that embraces fascination or obsession with a subject, whilst resisting predetermined outcomes. Working in a non-linear way, through drawing, painting, print, sculpture, and installation, he responds to spaces, objects, and ephemera that hold some significance or charge.