David Osbaldeston
Living Matter: What’s Been Before, 
Remains to be Seen

Onomatopee, Eindhoven / The Netherlands

May 30, 2013

David Osbaldeston
Living Matter: What’s Been Before, 
Remains to be Seen

May 25–July 7, 2013

Onomatopee
Bleekstraat 23
5611 VB Eindhoven
The Netherlands

www.onomatopee.net

In a world where alternative constructions of meaning are seen to evolve through an increasingly pluralised, digitised and mediated present, a new installation by David Osbaldeston (UK) takes established modes of artistic practice as its point of departure. With subtle humour, the legacies of conceptualism, word games, repetition and image recognition are toyed with in a bid to highlight ways in which inherited forms of communication become re-authored. 

At first glance, the exhibition consists of a large-scale configuration of several items of locally sourced G-Plan and modern European furniture, arranged as an assemblage on a series of adapted, self-assembly IKEA table units that act as a plinth. Here, this arrangement is primarily intended as a ventriloquistic act or as an evocation of an unseen ghost—the ghost of a pre-existing, yet undefined, avant-garde.

Through a production process that runs counter to efficient modes of image production, five stop-motion animations have been produced from wood-cut prints made from old table tops, projected as integrated objects within and between elements of the assemblage itself. Each animation depicts black and white abstract geometrical shapes in constant spatial movement; each undertakes an exploration of perceptual and actual space. As these wood-derived animations are projected onto the furniture’s surface, the latter becomes a sculptural token of ‘reality.’ Allied to the world of things this serves as a reiteration of the perceived ‘shorthand’ for modernism, bringing inert material to life.

In the same way a sentence is brought to life from a sequence of words to create effective communication. A similar logic could be applied to the process of animation, where each labour intensive frame takes its rightful place in the unfolding of time to produce a narrative. This is especially relevant as each animation contains a text that awkwardly, yet relentlessly, punctuates and disrupts. The text is cryptic and directly addresses the relationship between reading, seeing, and doing, embodying a darkly humorous form of invocation that appears almost hypnotic by the removal of words from the grammar of everyday use.

In light of mercurial advances within communication technology, the combined temporal displacement of recognisable images, objects, things and words appear to take on greater significance; the stability of assumed pre-existing relationships are questioned, and their language begins to fall apart. Yet paradoxically, in acknowledgment of their continued residual power reproduced here—the languages of modernism, abstraction, and conceptualism—their successes or failures, afford a space to take a speculative glance into the folding of past into present, art into life and vice versa.

The exhibition will subsequently be accompanied by a publication designed by Will Holder including a new chapter of his ongoing series The Middle of Nowhere.

David Osbaldeston is represented by Matt’s Gallery, London. He has recently taken part in exhibitions at venues in the UK and internationally, including The Modern Institute, Glasgow; CCA, Glasgow; Focal Point Gallery, Southend-On-Sea; Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten Open Ateliers, Amsterdam; ICA, London; International Project Space, Birmingham, and EAST International, Norwich.

Parallel production: SPACES IN BETWEEN: making the invisible visible
Inspired by David Osbaldeston, students from the St. Joost art academy in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (NL) developed a project, interrogating the relationships between language, text, and image, and their removal from grammatical contexts, enabling a re-representation of new relationships. 

Project partner: Art Academy AKV | St.Joost ‘s-Hertogenbosch

Curator: Freek Lomme

Graphic design publication: Will Holder

Made possible thanks to: Municipality of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Arts Council England, Municipality of Eindhoven and Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge.

David Osbaldeston is represented by Matt’s Gallery, London.