Damien Roach: Lemuria
September 6, 2008-October 4, 2008
Opening: Friday, September 5, 7-10pm
Lemuria is the name of a hypothetical landmass that once was supposed to have connected India and Madagascar and sank into the ocean as a result of natural catastrophes. The existence of this "sunken continent" that was proposed by nineteenth century researchers was questioned by the early 20th century theory of continental drift and later clearly disproved by the universal uptake of seafloor spreading & plate tectonics less then fifty years ago, only to take root all the more firmly in the realms of theosophy and science fiction.
This exhibition showing new work by Damien Roach takes the name of this landmass as it's title, and the idea of the human mind's desire and capacity to, in this case literally, ´fill in the gaps´, as it's starting point. With a range of media and methods, Roach explores the gaps and inconsistencies we try make comprehensible throughout our lives by using the most various explanatory models.
Avantgarde is Damien Roach's three-dimensional rendition of the logo designed by Herb Lubalin for the US art magazine of the same name: the font used here achieved cult status in the 1960s, and is still today used for book or record covers. The letterforms are segmented into individual parts and seem to float freely in the gallery space so that from close up the sculpture seems almost abstract; the text is only legible at some distance from a single viewpoint. Roach straightens and shifts the powerful attraction of a designed buzzword that captures the spirit of an entire decade. In other works, the artist treats omnipresent primeval fears of the inexplicable. While his Small Sculptures are like prototypes that seek to approach the human essence through the rich representation of the human figure, Blob: Formless Sculpture is about phenomena less familiar to us. Blob is a black hole that simultaneously sucks and reflects. It offers a surface for associations and references that stem form & go beyond the horror film classic The Blob (1958). The incomprehensible abstract is an issue not only for art and film, but also for science and everyday life. It begins with a failure to understand foreign cultures and black holes in outer space, moving towards the incomprehensible expansion of a cancerous tumor and is by no means exhausted by the nightmares that accompany the progress of sciences like nanotechnology. Even philosophy, that has made it its task to understand human existence and interpret it, appears as a selection of texts, split into alphabet and punctuation, and sorted, just like a senseless collection of words (Chapter 7: The Self and the Common World.).
In his research, Damien Roach begins at the point where familiar logic no longer applies and the transition between fiction and reality is fluid. With Lemuria, he works against unraveling mysteries and enlightenment, returning us to things that remain inexplicable: humanity and models of human life.