Florian Roithmayr | Shaan Syed | Andy Wake

09 May –
17 Jun

Press release

This group exhibition brings together three young contemporary artists’ whose practices explore liminal spaces and crossed thresholds; the immeasurable gaps that exist between actuality and its fabricated myth – between having and undergoing an experience – between telling a story and living it. The act of re-telling or re-experiencing is always in a constant state of flux – it can never replicate the original – new objects and acts are brought to it and it becomes a mediated encounter. The before and after pivot on an infinite point which is indefinable and intangible; all that remains is a relic of that attempt which shares a past, present and future.

Florian Roithmayr’s work mediates and questions the shifting experience between two dialectical oppositions. The formal constructions and ideals projected in Chinese propaganda imagery from the socialist and communist era are referenced through his work. When these mythic images were held against the backdrop of actuality, they stood empty and a vacuum was created into which the organisational propaganda was filled. Roithmayr creates empty facades which speak of desires to mediate a more perfect world. A sense of hope and failure – of new world order and disillusion – of attempts to hold on to and letting go, all resonate in Roithmayr’s sculptures.

The formal constructions of pop, religious and propaganda imagery – the constructions that enforce the hierarchical relationship between the individual and the spectacle, can also be seen in Shaan Syed’s paintings. Failed attempts to achieve the perfect view during collective spectatorship are explored in his paintings. These attempts to see – to be in the perfect place during mass assembly, inevitably fail as nothing at all can be seen. It is this nothing that becomes the point in question for Syed which he aims to capture through geometric abstract forms. After several years of figurative painting, these paintings are Syed’s attempt to erase the image and allow the paint itself to become the subject.

Also concerned with ideas of collective spectatorship and performer-audience relationships, Andy Wake’s work is formed by a love of Romanticism, the ultimate form of projected imagination, hope, fear and desire. He is also led by a personal connection to the tradition of storytelling, having lived with the traveller and storyteller Duncan Williamson during his formative years. Through drawing, video, performance and sculpture, Wake uses myth and parable alongside horrific interpretations of Romanticism, such as a connection between beauty and terror in attempts to deal with the crossing of psychological or theosophical brinks. At times Wake offers the momentary aftermath or evidence of hermetic endeavour, at others an elusive document of mysterious rite. Fear is guided by desire – at the centre of desire is nothing. Horror works by things not being there, we fill in the blanks from the surrounding imaginative macabre – a void has to be filled and as this occurs it remains osmotic and in perpetual flux.

Florian Roithmayr studied Fine Art at the Slade School of Fine Art, London and gained his MA from Goldsmiths College, London in 2005. Recent exhibitions include The Glass Bead Game, Vilma Gold, Berlin; New Contemporaries 2006, London and the Liverpool Biennial; Ice Trade, Chelsea Project Space, London and ASPEN 11 (PART 2), Galerie Neue Alte Bruecke, Frankfurt. Florian Roithmayr lives and works in London.
Shaan Syed completed the MFA at Goldsmiths College, London in 2006. Recent exhibitions include Distinction at Galerie Michael Janssen, Cologne, a solo show at Plug In ICA in Winnipeg, and artist residencies in New York, Canada and Switzerland. In 2006 he won the student category for the 2006 Celeste Art Prize, a nation-wide painting award. Shaan will be exhibiting at Project 88, Mumbai this autumn and his animation, Girl Smoking will be shown in Melbourne later this year. Shaan currently lives and works in London.
Andy Wake graduated with an MFA from Duncan Jordanstone College of Art & Design, Dundee in 2006, where he currently works as a lecturer. Exhibitions include Fire & Brimstone, Embassy Gallery Edinburgh, and The Visitor & the Other, Royal Scottish Academy.  Future exhibitions includeWorking Things Out, Spike Island, Bristol. Andy currently lives and works in Dundee.