after & before

8 Mar 2017 – 25 Mar 2017

Regular hours

12:30 – 17:30
12:30 – 17:30

Cost of entry


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Cardiff, United Kingdom


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After and Before draws on Richard Higlett’s fascination with the ideas and writings of the Irish polymath J. W. Dunne.


In various papers and consolidated in An Experiment with Time (1927) and The Serial Universe (1934) Dunne discusses the notion that time is not linear and dreams are made of fragments of the future. Dunne’s work runs parallel to theories on quantum physics and suggests we can mentally travel to other points in time and be physically present in them. Dunne’s ideas have informed popular culture most notably in Richard Matheson’s novel Bid Time Return (1975) which was made into the film Somewhere in Time (1980) and most recently in The Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang which was adapted into the film Arrival (2016). This take on time travel and perception is referred to directly in a text in the space which suggest it as a photocopy from a magazine yet to be published.

As an activity, the gallery will contain 20 unhung works stacked against the walls. These are waiting for any viewer to hang and curate the exhibition themselves. Once the work is hung and the moment is acknowledged, the paintings are quickly returned to a stack as the pack is reshuffled. The result is an exhibition in flux as installation and presentation becomes a cyclic process with outcomes intentionally brief and the idea that anything is finished or resolved is questioned.

The 20 monochrome paintings refer to the chromatic mean colours of the planets and moons in the solar system. This suggests that there is an order to these immovable truths as they are at different distances from the Sun. In not revealing the linear order of the paintings, the system is defined by the viewer and opinion replaces truth or factual evidence.

Higlett is also interested in the location of ArcadeCardiff in a Shopping Mall and views the exhibition as a ‘prop’ or simulation of an actual exhibition, just as the adjacent shop change their displays. Alongside After and Before, Higlett will be creating a free download edition, a digital typeface based on particles of dust and dirt.

When the gallery is closed he will be documenting other shows; the alternatives he could have displayed instead. This sideshow will be documented only on line.

A talk on the ideas behind the installation at ArcadeCardiff will be held at 2pm on Sunday 26th March, the day after the exhibition has closed and during the de-install.

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Richard Higlett


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