We are very happy to present The Screens, the second solo exhibition of James Richards at Rodeo.
This installation, as opposed to past works of Richards, is still. Taking as source an edited theatrical make up book and organizing the images thematically in groups, each one (four in total) is arranged in order on a separate slide projector. Images of latex skin and pink blush, the paraphernalia of make up brushes and pens, fake blood and powdered hair appear and disappear. This readymade is spread and broken into carefully organized groups and runs in a very specific rhythm. The images look old and are blown up to such an extent that they acquire a microscopic feel that sometimes merge with the details of the make up; the film turns into skin. The piece is composed of images full of disgust and pain and at the same time one is aware of their fakeness, and what James calls ‘fake traumas’ is constantly at stake – the model is smiling.
Alongside, there is a series of silkscreen prints on wood; their imagery comes from textbooks and graphs that analyze various personality types. Cropped and zoomed, they become like maps of locations or coordinates, while the recurrent shape of small and bigger circles resembles an illustration designed to both represent and activate the dilation of our pupils. It is hard not to think of cartoons with big eyes that stare towards the viewer and at the same time there is a sampling quality to the homogeneous character of the details that erases any representational character from the works and turns them into abstractions.
A photograph with the same image repeated is hanging under a ‘dark room red’ Plexi glass surface: a snapshot that Richards took from his studio’s desk on which a reproduction of Peter Bruegel’s The Blind Leading the Blind is lying while one can also see elements of the actual place. It is not so much about the meaning of the parable rather the images of the blinds being dragged by blinds, this moment and this painting lying under the red surface, almost like a mystic thing that is about looking; or not.
With The Screens we bring back an older video from 2006, Practice Theory, that bridges Richards’ work from editing clips that he has shot with his handycam from books and bodily fragments to sound and the game between reality and fiction.