Artist Rebecca Ackroyd is interested in the twinned experiences of personal and collective memory, and how we reconcile their dissonance in our lives. Making a nuanced exploration of these ideas in concert with a unique fusion of concept and material, her new show, 100mph, her second exhibition at Peres Projects, Ackroyd architecturally intervenes in the space with semitransparent, plastic dividers, creating pods that isolate both the works and the viewer.
The works in this exhibition deal with personal psychology, through an exploration of dreams and through strategies of compartmentalization – both tools for processing and digesting our experiences. Ackroyd’s installation has brought the walls of the gallery space closer, scaffolding obscures the view through the windows, and Ackroyd’s paintings hang from these temporary, supportive structures against cloudy, translucent dust sheets. These structures make the incongruous suggestion of impermanence, in cityscapes where those frames are the urban’s most enduring symbol of continual growth and change. In 100mph we step into the building site where her works stage processes of both demolition and construct new formulations.
The works center in particular around hair, and the social moorings that it can so often find itself intertwined in. Hair sweeps through the composition to camouflage or cradle objects, letters and other signifiers, lending it a sense of self-agency and performative capacity. These clues lead us through a narrative centered around contemporary experiences of femininity within urban spaces. The drawings are fragments, the whole is obscured, the body is abstracted through scale and repetition, becoming both bodily and speculative. Ackroyd’s sculptural works are also often fragmented, resembling remnants uncovered in archaeological digs. Both act as filaments connecting histories and loaded objects, populating the gallery space with discarded and forgotten attachments of the past. Through an exposed kneecap, a torn stocking, or a glimpse of talons, the works in the exhibition create a sensory reality that straddles the imagined real and symbolic, borrowing from the destabilizing surreal visual language of dreams. Bodies are constantly staged as the sites and subjects of unseen movements and forces here, providing a mixture of both voyeurism and interactivity.
100mph sensitively reflects on themes of sexuality, narratives of progress, our built environments, and the subconscious mind. Setting together conflicting momentums of extended and suspended time – the mind racing, but going nowhere. An entangled mixture of social commentary and personal reflection, posited to the viewer as a circuit through the process of renovation, and the repair and wreckage that entails.
The show closes March 5h.
– J. Shrine
Peres Projects: 100mph [Exhibition]