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Rubbish & Reason

Richard Ibghy, Marilou Lemmens
John G. Hampton (Curator)
June 6 – July 11, 2015

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

Artist Statement

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 both concept and thing is materialized 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.

Artists’ Bios

Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens live and work in Montreal and Durham-Sud, Quebec. Their collaborative practice combines a concise approach to the form and construction of the art object with a desire to make ideas visible. Spanning across multiple media, including video, performance and installation, their work explores the material, affective and sensory dimensions of experience that cannot be fully translated into signs or systems. Over the last decade, their work has investigated the possibility of materializingor demythologizingabstractions and abstract thought, especially with regard to the economy. Their work has been shown at La Biennale de Montral (Montreal, 2014), 27th Images Festival (Toronto, 2014), Manif dart 7: Quebec City Biennial (Quebec City, 2014), La Filature, Scne Nationale (Mulhouse, France, 2013-14), Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (Hvikodden, Norway, 2013), Centre for Contemporary Arts (Glasgow, 2012), and the 10th Sharjah Biennial (Sharjah, UAE, 2011). Recent solo exhibitions include VOX – Centre de l’image contemporaine (Montreal, 2014), Trinity Square Video (Toronto, 2014), La Bande Video (Quebec City, 2014), Monte Vista Projects (Los Angeles, 2012) and G Gallery (Toronto, 2012).