2 October saw the debut solo exhibition of the British artist David James open at Whitechapel’s GALLERY46. Entitled Civilisation, it features a series of drawings and paintings that explore the relationship between personal experience and art history. The drawings are the result of a technique that modifies reproductions of masterpieces by artists such as Velázquez and Rembrandt torn from books, while the paintings are fabricated objects made from digital enlargements of the drawings on archival canvas mounted to board, with the addition of layers of resin, hair and grit. The sublime materiality of James’s paintings both seduces and repulses, a tension that highlights the possibilities of legibility and appropriation in image making. ArtAttack caught up with David to discuss his practice in more detail.