THIS PLACE MUST BE EARTH
As the title of the exhibition suggests, this new body of work by Chris Barr invokes a disquieting effect that undermines our confidence in the solid ground that we take for granted. As a perverse affirmation of some kind, its statement has the reverse effect of forcing us to question our surroundings in a new light that conjures up the de-familiarising aura of science fiction.
True to Barr’s practice the contingent relationships between the objects and images in the show attempt to renegotiate the status and validity of familiar origins, inviting us to view them within a different register of value. Barr’s work seems to imply that the knowledge that we have invented our world does not necessarily erase the possibility that we might believe in it and in contrast to some of the conventional methods of gallery display his presentation evokes a domestic setting that teases out the emotional content of everyday objects.
The irrational origins at the heart of modernism continue to haunt Barr’s observations of the world, where the mystifications of pre-modern societies are embodied within the social relations between objects and the hierarchical values associated with commodity items. By examining the ‘wish images’ that are symptomatic of this inherent contraction, Barr attempts to expose the underlying presuppositions about our collective memory, conflating a fictitious past, present and future. The combined effect of this theatrical flux presents us with the notion that just like the abstract fictions of the artist, there are an infinite number of possible Earths.
Christopher Barr is a recent graduate of the MA Painting programme at the Royal College of Art, London.
Image: Christopher Barr. Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth, Digital Print, iridescent film. Framed work. 2011.