The title of the exhibition references works by both Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp, artists who used novel methods to construct symbols of desire and to question reality. In Man Ray’s famous photograph Le Violon d’Ingres, Kiki de Montparnasse is posed in the style of one of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’ bathers, but with two f notes on her back as if she was a violin. The other work, Marcel Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even, or The Large Glass, is an intricate artwork which was declared definitively unfinished, until the panes of glass were shattered, completing the work to the artist’s satisfaction. When translated to English, keeping the references to these works intact, the title of this exhibition is thus Le Violon d’Ingres, Stripped Bare by her Bachelors.
Creating a cohesive installation rather than assembling a variety of independent works, Roig uses the gallery’s architecture as the building block for the whole exhibition, constructing a theatrical voyage through the rooms. The journey culminates in the place which inspired the entire concept - the bathroom – the place that is most contradictory to that of the exhibition space. Complete with an Ingres-esque bather perched on the bathtub, engulfed in steam, this work echoes both the importance of art history and the past life of the exhibition space, which is itself a reconverted apartment. This room is the key to the rest of the exhibition, which uses drawing, video, sculpture and installation to create an optical and temporal distortion of our interpretation of visual matter. Roig stipulates that we are prisoners of our own language and visual memory, and that art is necessary to formalize this imposed silence and to investigate history, memory and desire.
The incapacity of language as an expressive tool is what makes art so appealing, as we are offered with a different way to understand the world around us. Through art, one can communicate their innermost desires or obsessions. By creating physical obstacles between the spectator and the image, either by obscuring the window to the gallery with thin vertical bars or by forcing the viewer to look through a peep-hole to view an artwork, Roig invites us to apprehend the works without relying solely on our vision – we must confront the pieces physically, entering into a corporal dialogue and letting our imagination rise to the occasion to allow us to understand that what cannot be communicated visually.
The urge to detach oneself from the image of perfection is manifest in Roig’s monumental drawings, inspired by Ingres’ drawings of bourgeois families. While the exactitude of the drawn line is what drew the artist to these works, Roig’s own technique is more comparable to that of Francis Bacon, witnessed through the purposeful destruction of the figure as well as the resistance against his medium – in this case the drawn line. His figures often have their eyes or mouth obstructed or destroyed, representing their incapacity to communicate. This combat against the constraints of language and the inundation of images, coupled with the artistic and physical weight of the past, are the pillars of this exhibition.