Text by Alexandros Papadopoulos
Maurice Carlin’s current exhibition First…Next…Then…Finally… at Castlefield Gallery celebrates the ‘corruption’, the collapse and the fusion of boundaries – the boundaries between the visual and the sculptural, the digital and the material, the random and the mystical. This rearrangement is achieved through tactical interventions on paper, city-scape and mundane material. By spreading colourful inks above sheets of street-based cards, Carlin’s work assembles a psychedelic map of surfaces – a tapestry of paintings that look like x-rays of groundness. Evoking the three-dimensional landscapes of digital worlds – the abstractness of these street-portraits is simultaneously a trace and a recreation of the physical space. Here comes a form of monument that re-produces the face of a street by dissolving its trace into colour – an ethereal signature of materiality. Converging thus the visual with the sculptural, Corrupted Images develop a geography of unstable signs, a palimpsests of impressions. Based on the unfixed symbols of fixed spaces, this dizzy vocabulary transforms the texture of the streets into encrypted dance-floor of fractals. The virtual seems to be happily superimposed upon the material. The curatorial style of demonstration, in setting side by side the video-recorded process of production and the finished piece, highlights the playful combination of randomness and control, handiness and spontaneity, simplicity and miracle. Under these terms, the act of painting becomes an impressionistic and instantaneous inversion of routinized space, one that invites the spectator/walker to sink his/her feet within a psychogeography of colour.
Seen in this way, the surfaces of the city emerge as codified secrets – riddles waiting to be unpacked. The same logic runs through other series of works: Manipulated Images reconstruct the traces left by bodies on soap (whereas Primed Displays underline the visual games embedded in the skin of boxboards). In all these cases, surfaces carve out unexpected journeys – deranged entries into outer dimensions – their sculptural visuality unfolding endless waves of encryptions, disruptions and corruptions. The game of fluid signs and urbanity expands into video art, fanzine-installation and paper sculpture (Blue (sleep mode) with David Medalla, Lever Arch Constrcutions, The Self-Publisher). Blue captures the sleep-walking flânerie of a man (Medalla) who projects colourful light towards his body and the body of the city. Just like in the Corrupted Images a game with colour (which now made out of light) unearths a new geography of meaning beneath the surface of the mundane. Lever Arch Constructions features blank paper arranged on walls in such a ways as to create a dynamic geometry – a wall of waves. The ethereal juxtapositions of these pages – hanging from the skeletons of dossiers with no covers – exposed, unprotected and blank — articulate a strong poetic statement. Opened towards the spectators as if they were frozen wings, they create a tension between motion and immobility, emptiness and fullness, musicality and concreteness. This paper-monument of blankness – engaging with pages as if they were encrypted records of flight, explosion and poeticality – stands side by side with a paper-construct of written pages: the Self-Publisher. This is a series of lettristic fanzines made out of random photocopies. Vibrant collages of informational leftovers, these semiotic bombs recreate sense out of no-sense. The landscape of everyday materiality is reorganized as a polysemic window to hyperreality. Alongside all the exhibition material, they seem to shout: Corruption is an endless construction!
Maurice Carlin: First…Next…Then…Finally… is on display at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester until 17 February 2013.
Dr. Alexandros Papadopoulos is a cultural theorist and performance artist based in Manchester.