ROBIN SEIR ‘Play Dead’

3 – 26 October

Modernism – and ‘modernity’ in particular – was/is in many ways a form of futurism, an embracing of human achievement, one that can’t easily be pinned down yet saturates the fabric of our world as though there was no pre-history and our minds have been wiped of any antecedent.

The future now looks quaint as imagined then, as hoped for, as worked towards (all active states difficult to countenance now in the post-modern po-faced stasis we inhabit). We look back to ideas of the future which are preserved in museums, in archives, heaven forbid in formaldehyde or particularly in quotation marks.

Post religion, post everything the pervasive feeling is of an apocalypse that never happened, a Rapture that we were not summoned to… a doom that is still distant (because we have stopped being aware of moving towards it).

We are biding our time, waiting for a Messianic being we yet cannot put any trust or faith in – a Robot saviour and labour-saving device that (in an echo of the transformation of ‘Maria’ Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’) is nevertheless born of the Human, our need for control; to better ourselves to the point of self-annihilation. A new slavery willingly adopted.

‘…Someone to claim us, someone to follow
Someone to shame us, some brave Apollo
Someone to fool us, someone like you
We want you Big Brother…’

David Bowie ‘Big Brother’ 1974

 

In Seir’s new body of work techniques are used that mimic others yet whose true process is concealed. Thin fabric is stretched over more solid canvas, hiding the paint that has been applied behind it, the information re-coded onto the screen, a projection from beyond the wall as it were. A late Modernist aesthetic (California Hard Edge / Post Painterly Abstraction / Washington Colour School) has been employed with a dominance of black and chrome – but rather than fields or panels these are doors to another world, open but un-entered. existing on the threshold between this world’s uncertainties and knowledge of its secrets.

‘The sterile surfaces of chrome and the sinister blacks have a Sci-Fi quality. Sci-Fi being a form of speculative futurism but ironically something which describes an outmoded notion of the deeply mysterious time ahead of us.’