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concrete series
2016 - 2018
all text and images (c) Richard Ducker 2004-2019
all rights reserved
all text and images (c) Richard Ducker 2004-2019
all rights reserved
End Credits

These ink drawings come out of a desire to find a means of confronting the horror of the contemporary. The images, like the text, come directly off the internet: news
reel, mobile phone up loads. They are images of smoke that immediately follows a bomb explosion, which the ink then emulates on the page. Rather than trying to
represent horror with horror, their scale is deliberately reduced to postcard size, vulnerable and precious. Pocket size, the disposable digital image of convenience
is fixed in analogue. The text, which originates from a combination of the artist’s spam box, religious cults, and the artist’s Facebook feed, suggests both comic
absurdity and shock incongruity. Some are trite, others suggest profundity, but most are of awkward indeterminacy.

Horizontal Hold

Are an on-going series of aerosol drawings. They embody the most basic act of mark-making by referencing the graffiti of tagging – an urban form of marking
territory. Indulgence in this nostalgia is replicated through their presentation of the analogue opacity of electronic communication: white noise. Consequently, the
immediacy of their expression is denied contemporary currency and becomes a futile rage in a language that is deliberately limited by its medium. All the drawings
are on paper unframed, and all 1m x 1.5m.

Unstable Relations: the paired portraits

The idea of the double has long haunted the human imagination. The double threatens and fascinates in equal measure. Our own mirror image attracts and
repels, offering a vision of the self that is both of us and yet fundamentally separate. The innate fear that our reflection – and by implication, our body – could act
outside our control is an enduring terror, and therefore an abiding theme within psychology, literature and art….
- Eliza Williams

‘Unstable Relations’ are a series of double portraits, paint on canvas, based on a single black and white photograph of the artist aged around 9 years old. There is
nothing remarkable about the original photograph except that the boy (the artist) is wearing a shirt and tie and has a particularly unsympathetic haircut – yet these
two features seem to take the image out of the specific and into the general: it could have been any young boy from anytime between the 1930s and the 1970s. It
was this that fascinated: the implications of the specific memory of a specific moment for the artist conflated with an historicism that was as much to do with fiction,
history lessons, tv and movies, as well as the archival. Suddenly I, the artist, and I, the little boy, become I, the inventor of history. Was I a member of the Nazi youth
or just an over dressed little boy from the 50s, was I going to a party with my parents or dressed for church, was I a public school toff or off to work in the East End?
Nostalgia and history seemed to pour out of, and into, this image. It is this movement of memory and fiction that makes the image so unstable and imprecise, and
therefore curious – it is a paranoiac experience with both recall and invention having its effect.

All the paintings are cropped slightly differently and with varying degrees of detail. Each pair is painted as similar as possible. This in itself is a strange experience
to muster – at times intense and absurd. It both undermines and enhances the fiction that painting can get to a deeper truth – there is more depth to the painted
image, but repeated, it returns to the photographic. Meanwhile the eye is constantly moving from one image to the other, looking for differences which of course
exist – it is painting – a process that makes visible the impossibility of a singular moment, or at least to recall it as one. To further occupy this territory between the
photographic and the painted all the paintings are given a red glaze. This has the effect of not reading them as either painting or photography, but rather as both
simultaneously. The glaze also adds to their paranoiac presence while suggesting the otherness of the archive image being caught under the developer’s light –
itself now a strange but magical archaic process.

The ink drawings come out of a desire to find a means of politicising the Dark Matter sculptures I had been working on at the same time, as a way of confronting
the horror of the contemporary. Where the sculptures explore an alienation from language through the use of the displacement of Sci-Fi, these images come
directly off the Internet: newsreel, mobile phone up loads, etc. They are images of smoke after explosions taken from current conflicts. Rather than trying to
represent horror with horror, their scale is deliberately small (postcard size) and framed, as a means of reducing its sublime to pocket size, while the digital image
of convenience made analogue.
- Richard Ducker, 2012
copyright Richard Ducker 2019