It’s 25 years since Mat Collishaw burst on to the art scene alongide Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. And his work is still as appalling and as moving as ever.
Collishaw flitted in and out of the tabloid version of the new British art. He was Tracey Emin‘s boyfriend, as well as one of Hirst’s best pals (as he still is: Collishaw recently took up painting after Hirst gave him 10 huge boxes of paint). And, of all the YBAs, he did project the image of being young, wild and a bit of a romantic. He photographed himself bare-chested in a pond on Clapham Common, trying to catch fairies. He posed as Narcissus gazing in a puddle (not so much recreating a Renaissance painting as restaging the cover photograph from the Smiths’ single This Charming Man). A raw, urban romanticism, a whiff of youthful daring came off his art.