The gallery space has been taken over by some form of alien presence. There is a slippage in time that is both uncertain and playful. A large photograph of a battleship from WW2, taken by the artist’s father, holds the stage, while scattered about the floor are boulders linked together by piping, as if breathing or communicating. One of the boulders is raised up menacingly on a watchtower-like structure. Within this theatrical flight of fancy is the suggestion of a primordial life support system. There is something of The Matrix here, albeit with a Flintstones’ touch.
The text is barely readable in its light grey and lack of punctuation. Paranoia and unspecified surveillance permeate the spliced extracts from David Ike’s book The Biggest Secret and ‘clippings’ from the artist’s own spam box. Its Burroughs-like structure offers a glimpse into the overload of the economic, and its corollary, the conspiracy theory’s paranoiac escapism. Within its incoherence, in the absurdity of its own seriousness, there is also something tragically heroic.
At the heart of the installation is the conduit, the receiver, the prism through which time fragments, the HUM. Geometric, translucent, Modernist - it is a philosopher’s stone, contained by two speakers. The sound* is dissonant, uncertain: an electrical sub station, interference, the Mothership.
The small double self-portrait, painted on canvas, is based on a single black and white photograph of the artist as a young boy. There is nothing remarkable about the image except that the boy is wearing a shirt and tie and has a particularly unsympathetic haircut – it could have been any young boy from anytime between the 1930s and the 1970s. It is this out of time nostalgia that fascinates: the implications of the specific collide with a past that is constructed by history lessons, television, cinema, and WW2 battleships.
These elastic narratives within the autobiographical, of adopted memories and constructed myths, are locked into a spectacle of theatrical interplay. The sculptural object as staged prop, the linguistic deficit, and the curatorial directive of the private, all contribute to this brackish movement of history as fiction, making it both unstable and imprecise. With both recall and invention having its effect, it is the sense of ‘wrong place, wrong time’, or in Giorgio Agamben phrase: ‘Out of joint-ness’, that prevails.
*Sound created by John Wynne.
Richard Ducker has exhibited widely through out the UK and internationally, including: Kettles Yard, Cambridge; Serpentine Gallery; Royal Academy, Edinburgh; Mappin Gallery, Sheffield; The Kitchen, New York; The Yard Gallery, Nottingham; Katherine E Nash Gallery, Minnesota, USA; Cell Project Space; Standpoint Gallery; Café Gallery; Anthony Reynolds Gallery; Coleman Projects; and dalla Rosa Gallery.
Information on Richard Ducker can found at www.richardducker.com (07957228351)