Ibid., the new work created by UK artist Alec Shepley for KdMoFA, references the idea of previous works and alludes to the artist as a traveller, drawing the viewer in and inviting them on an existential journey – a journey through imagined sites of the fragment such as those witnessed by readers of Invisible Cities.
The work in this exhibition focuses on architecture and site as metaphors for our own mental states, confronting the viewer with fragmentation and an incomplete project that perhaps is within our nature to shy away from. In this new work however, an attempt is made to put into reverse the negative stereotypes of the ruin – to invert it and create the potential for amore positive metaphor. The viewer is immersed in a set of visual relationships that subconsciously he or she is aware of, to create allegories, new meanings and to foreground the creative potential of the fragment in a process of renewal and redefinition.
Ibid. is an example of Shepley’s improvised sites made by grouping together various materials such as found and made objects and models, broken forms, photographs, video and sound, to invite the viewer to move around a place of making (and unmaking), speculate on the notion of a work’s becoming and to create a narrative of possibility.
The elements within the show combine to reference unstable and subjective concepts of space and understanding, and tempt the viewer around seemingly unstructured activities and makeshift actions which ultimately draw attention to the unresolved poetics of the everyday and the indefinable beauty in the ordinary -particularly through such works as ‘I am from Leonia’, made especially for this show at KdMoFA.
This new video piece is influenced by Italo Calvino’s book Invisible Cities, and in particular the sections about the cities of Leonia and Sophronia. In this short film played on a loop, the viewer witnesses a figure steadily and progressively sweeping his way around what appears to be an abandoned and ruined building and attempting to fulfill a seemingly impossible blueprint referred to by the inhabitants of Invisible Cities.
The voice over in the film recalls the street cleaners who are welcomed like angels to the city, and who ‘engage in their task of removing the residue of yesterday’s existence in a respectfully silent ritual that inspires devotion’. This is perhaps because once things have been discarded nobody really wants to have to think about them anymore. In the book, as in this show, the reader is compelled to reflect on the ultimate outcomes of such accumulations of the debris as an outcome of daily progress and thus question a wider logic around production and unbridled modernity.
This question about what to do with our worldly possessions, once we no longer have a use for them, is as poignant today as it ever was and Ibid. is an attempt to pause, visualize and reflect on the status of the fragment within an embodied relationship with the world. Through enacting his nomadic studio in neglected urban spaces as well as galleries, Shepley is negotiating a transient and momentary ‘aesthetic of regular experience’ and asking a question about his own (and our) presence in this process.
About the exhibition
Duration: 2014-12-26 ~ 2015-02-15
Venue: Gallery 402, Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei National University of the Arts
Courtesy of the artists and Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, for further information please visit www.kdmofa.tnua.edu.tw.