There, not there and on the way

3-30 SEP 2016

Gallery B, Tony Twigg "There, not there and on the way" Sep 03-30, 2016 #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Exhibition Notes by Lisa Ito

The motility of things

Art objects are too often encountered as immobile forms: they are hung and secured onto walls, set atop pedestals and plinths, and continuously encircled by the traffic of eyes, gazes, lenses. Separated and stilled by space, any semblance or possibility of movement remains invisible and forgotten.

Yet objects move within certain parameters and instances, and within the so-called social life of things. Tony Twigg explores this idea of performative objects in this solo exhibition of new paintings and timber constructions, taking off from the process of reconfiguring compositions to capture impressions of movement and nuances in form.

The works featured in the exhibition offer iterations of his timber constructions in painting and video-animation. Twigg frames these compositions of abstract shapes as “puppets in a performance”, having been previously reconfigured through time and space before settling into their current state. The painted works, though fixed in place, interestingly still exude a performed quality and a sense of motion through the way their lines and palettes oscillate and entwine.

Twigg’s conceptual exploration of performative objects is rooted in his practice and grounding in performance and theater as well as his recent exhibitions, where the artist worked with forms such as mime and photography in addition to his three-dimensional pieces. The artist extends the process of moving objects to the arena of painting, capturing what is akin to a single moment in a performance, or moments in a performance, in several frames. This is demonstrated when Twigg juxtaposes his work in timber construction with a digital work produced using animated GIFs: a dialectical demonstration of movement and stillness that threads through the rest of the works, while at the same time conveying the “joyousness of motion” across various media.

Performed Constructions / 2016 (clip)

This sense of mobile harmony is also seen in the series titled A Contraction of Sticks, comprised of six works in acrylic on timber made in between Australia and the Philippines. Like totems and actors, the individual elements of the works move in and out of each other: creating an implied dance between forms, so to speak. Twigg’s constructions furthermore treat positive and negative space as interchangeable, playing with composition, rhythm, and tonal differences to convey a sense of dynamic, spontaneous movement. Spaces in between planes seem to be simultaneously occupied and vacated, their identities as the void in between forms are negated by their very own absent presence.

The sense of simultaneous occupation conveyed in the exhibition’s title, There, Not There And On The Way, also underscores how Twigg engages with motility: producing objects images, and impressions of spontaneous activity in the stillest of gestures.

In several ways, the exhibition can be framed as an abstraction of puppet performance. The black void connotes the confines of the theater while the shapes and spaces surrounding the works denote individual presences and figures within this field. Performing this narrative of flux, the works offer viewers a compelling encounter with space, rather than place, and with the motility of all things within the realm of the in-between. •

  • This exhibition is part of the 2016 London Biennale Manila Pollination
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