Robin Footitt - Closed Circuit Saga
Edel Assanti is pleased to present Closed Circuit Saga, Robin Footitt’s first exhibition at the gallery.
Closed Circuit Saga is an exploration of the manner in which form can belie content, and in which meaning in visual or spoken language definitively shifts over time. The exhibition meditates on the uncomfortable reality that an observed outcome is often not the product of an intentional series of events, but rather the result of arbitrary circumstances. The exhibition consists of three complementary series – gum strip sculptures, photographic works and monochrome paintings.
Footitt’s flexed aluminium sculptures, the second series he has created in this medium, have been anodised in order to imbue them with colour. Each sculpture takes the form of a letter or an element of a letter, as the gestural shapes scramble to annunciate their own semantic meanings, collectively spelling out the word FATE.
The series of photographs are printed from found negatives of a TV closed circuit experiment at Byrd Elementary School, South Carolina, USA, on Friday 13th April 1962. Footitt has silk-screened a pair of “doublet” words on the board mount of each photograph. A doublet is a term used in etymology to describe two or more words that have different phonological forms but the same etymological root. As the relationship between words that have the same root and the same meaning is obvious, the term is mostly used to characterise pairs of words that have diverged in meaning.
Alongside these works, the exhibition presents a series of Footitt’s “exposure monochrome” paintings. Through a gestural, layered application of paint, Footitt creates a monochrome surface that conceals a figurative drawing in permanent marker pen underneath. As with the process of anodising aluminium, the outcome is unfixed, as the reaction of oil paint and marker is idiosyncratic, allowing the figurative element of the work to resurface in unpredictable ways. The series of paintings take inspiration from an illustrated newspaper strip entitled “Dream of the Rarebit Fiend” by Windsor McCay, published by The New York Herald from 1904 until c. 1925. The strip had no continuity or recurring characters. Instead, it had a recurring theme: a character would have a nightmare, usually after eating a Welsh rarebit (a cheese-on-toast dish). The character would awaken from the dream in the last panel, regretting having eaten the rarebit. The dreams often revealed the darker sides of the dreamers' psyches—their phobias, hypocrisies, discomforts, and dark fantasies.
Robin Footitt studied at Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art. Footitt is currently undertaking Acme Studios’ Fire Station Residency in London (2010 – 2015) and is a former resident of The Florence Trust, London (2009) and Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris (2008). He was selected by Matthew Higgs for White Columns Curated Artist Registry, New York (2010). Recent exhibitions include A Town Without Pity, 4 Windmill Street, London (2013); Part of a Collection: Outset / RCA Acquisitions 2009-11, Royal College of Art, London (2012); SUNDAY, Ambika P3, (with Ian Homerston 2011). Footitt lives and works in London.
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