IBID PROJECTS is pleased to present the second London solo exhibition of British artist Damien Roach. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2003, Roach has produced numerous sculptural objects, videos, watercolours, installations and collages that re-use found objects and visual materials in a way that seeks to imbue them with new meanings, revealing the revelatory potential of otherwise overlooked objects from everyday life, and exploring ideas such as historical continuity, systems of organization and methods of perception.
'Transmissions' takes its title from the first work showing in the front gallery space, consisting of elements of film, sound and altered light. Projected through the prism of a slowly spinning crystal are images from Robert Flaherty's 1922 film 'Nanook of the North'. These scenes, recounting Inuit life in northern Canada, are accompanied by a turntable playing the Folkways LP 'Sounds of a Tropical Rainforest in America', a mood-setting record originally produced for a 1952 exhibition at New York's American Museum of Natural History. Transmissions is completed by the conversion of the gallery's lighting to dark red, mimicking that found in a darkroom or film processing laboratory.
As with much of Roach's work, these found elements are not entirely what they at first purport to be. Both the sound and film sources are in part constructions or at least half-truths. 'Nanook...', hailed as the earliest examples of long form documentary filmmaking, was shot by Flaherty over a two-month period in which many of the scenes were 'set-up' or planned to lend a certain naivety to life in the frozen arctic, away from the trappings of modernity. Similarly, the material for the 'Sounds...' LP was recorded both on an artificial island in the Panama Canal and in a New York Zoo, the resulting record recombined from various sources and condensed across varying timeframes. Far from a straightforward document, the listener is left in a state of uncertainty over the origins of the various birdsong, rainfall and animal calls.
The two artifacts, both presenting ersatz realities as truths are placed together under the glow of red neon light, suggesting both a transitional space where images come into being, as well as a greenhouse where artificial warmth promotes growth. In this way, the installation suggests a heightened platform for activity and change. With the film fragmented, multiplied and distorted, and the record constantly shifting in its relationship to the newly psychedelic images, an elusive and unpredictable environment is produced - transparent in its makeup and mobile in its nature.
Also showing in the back gallery is the sculpture 'Abundant Velocity', which looks at exchange and movement between disparate organizational structures or models of understanding, and a selection of Roach's recent collages and watercolours.