AboutSoft systems are the worlds inside our bodies, the valves, tubes, pumps and mechanisms that produce an intangible life force and power our dreams. Soft Systems is the greater machine of a collective unconscious, the cycles and processes within thousands of people whose thoughts and actions turn the cogs of an imagined city. Inside the walls existence is peaceful, ordered and eternal, but there is a lingering sense of mystery, of something lurking beneath the surface, of objects whose functions are so long forgotten that they begin to symbolise something new, something elusive and ambiguous.
Molly Palmer has described her work as âthe real world concentrated, magnified and flattened, with the contrast and saturation turned up until some of the lines become blurred.' This new body of work demonstrates her recent obsession with machines and Industrial buildings, which feature in her work as an allegory for mental, physical or cosmic systems and processes. Many of the pieces in the show are offshoots and by-products of the book she is working on, from which the show takes its title. This âsilent' story (a narrative series of images) investigates the parallels between the technologies that surround us and the inner workings of our bodies through the eyes of two factory workers whose lives are linked by a commuter train that passes their workshops hundreds of times each day.
In her second London solo show, and her last UK exhibition before she takes up a 6 month residency at San Francisco's Kala Institute, Molly Palmer presents discombobulated segments of Soft Systems' meta-narrative in the form of new drawings, paintings, prints and objects.
In âAnimal Friend Returns' an army of humanoid cats become a receptacle for the dreams and memories of the city's inhabitants. As the variable factor in a static series of events they become an omniscient presence in the room and a link between narrative threads. In âProject Manager' and âSleep Version' a group of machines clunk robotically on, presided over and perhaps producing a sinister controlling figure. Elsewhere, we witness a murder in âDay Job'; enter a deserted holiday-scape where abandoned buildings become monolithic entities (Muscle Beach/Miami Condo and My Guns) and watch as the inhabitants of Ice Unit fall prey to a curious sleeping sickness.
The images and objects that make up Soft Systems originate in âreal world' encounters before being shuffled and distorted through a prism of daydreams, momentary misinterpretation and repeated drawings. Isolated from their everyday context and inserted into ambiguous architectural settings, they take on a sense of heightened significance and ritual that obscures their original function.
Molly Palmer graduated with a BA in Fine Art and Critical Practice from Goldsmiths in 2007. Since then she has lived and worked in London, exhibiting, performing and screening works at spaces such as 291 gallery, Utrophia Project Space, Auto Italia South East and Whitechapel Gallery.