June 6 - July 11, 2015

Rubbish & Reason

Richard Ibghy
Marilou Lemmens
John G. Hampton (Curator)

Opening reception: June 6, 8:00 p.m.
2nd Floor, 1856 Scarth Street.
All welcome!

Rubbish & Reason | Artists' Bio

Rubbish & Reason

Rubbish & Reason
Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens

Created specifically for Neutral Ground Contemporary Art Forum, Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens’ Rubbish & Reason explores the significance of diagrams and other forms of economic modelling as agents of social, cultural and subjective change. Starting with the idea that economics does not describe an existing external reality but brings that reality into being, the artists examine the workings of a specific figure of thought and style of reasoning in economics.

In the economic sciences, the production of graphs gained momentum at the end of the 19th century when political economists began plotting large quantities of statistical data on a coordinate axis. As these graphical forms proved convenient for conducting mathematical operations and expressing complex ideas, they developed into a new language of human action, one that united statistical observation, mathematics, and geometry onto a single plane. Today, there are few tools so fundamental to our understanding of the economy as graphs. Yet the lines, curves and dots that make-up graphs do more than communicate ideas about the so-called laws of the market, they have come to frame the very way we think about the economy, and with it, how we behave as “economic subjects”.

For their exhibition at Neutral Ground, Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens direct their attention to how economic abstractions translate complex ideas about human behaviour into systematised forms. They question what it means to move from a material world of entangled, interacting agents to a world of mathematical modelling and graphical abstraction. What transformations of knowledge and sensibilities take place? How are particulars (circumstances, forms of life, actions, desires, and energies) mapped and connected in abstract models? What happens when we bring abstractions back to the concrete? When we go from a formal schema to physical matter or embodied engagement?

The exhibition Rubbish & Reason revolves around processes through which the dual nature of diagrams—as both concept and thing—is materialised in artworks and engaged with in performed actions. Ibghy & Lemmens’ work embraces economic models as forms that give shape to ways of thinking and feeling, then turns them inside out. Their diagrammatic skins hang from the walls and their remains are laid out on shelves and tables. The artistic language employed is self-conscious, sometimes displaying surgical precision, but often bewildering in its tendency to play fast and loose with the rules of economic syntax. Yet this is a language that addresses the body, with a preference for sensation over deconstruction, chance over risk calculation, poetry over analysis.

This exhibition is curated by John G. Hampton.

Support for this exhibition was graciously provided by the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Regina.