Ibid Review: Duncan Mountford
On the screen a ritual is enacted, the clearing of a path, a figure engaged slowly, carefully, brushing the detritus from the walkways in a ruined building. The lack of any certainty concerning the location of this ruin is reinforced by the narrating voice telling the story of an imaginary city, a city where the cleaners are figures of importance, for they clear the ground to allow the appearance of the new.
The ruin in the video is reflected, refracted, in the ruin in the gallery; a wall half destroyed and illuminated by a fluorescent tube in the debris on the floor, a light seemingly caught at the moment of its slide to destruction; a model of a ruined building on a segment of earth, and floating in a pool of light as if it was caught in the act of escaping the gravity of its situation.
Ibid defies any simplistic narrative of the romance of ruins, for the ruined structure in the video projection glimpsed though the jagged hole in the wall seems as much an echo of the future, a foretaste of the ruins that will be left behind when humankind has gone, leaving behind one solitary last man engaged in a melancholic act of cleansing.
Yet the clearing of a ruin, the creation of a space in the midst of the concrete slabs overgrown with the forest, is also an act of making ready the space for something new. In this there is a connection to all the strategies of creation, the tidying of the desk before beginning to write, the laying out of tools before the start of construction, the brushing of the studio before beginning a new work of art.
Ibid thus sits at an intersection between what has gone before, the ruined gallery wall left from the previous exhibition, and the process of creating a new work. The tables on which sit the monitors that showing further footage of the brushing of the ruin seem to continue this sense of interregnum, being quotidian rather than elements of exhibition language.
Andrew Benjamin talks of installations as always being in the state of becoming, for the viewer is remaking the work at each navigation of the space. Ibid makes this plain, by quoting what has gone before, clearing the ground for what will come, and in itself being a space that connects to a modern ruin that is echoing what will come.
The slow brushing continues, at a pace that speaks more of meditation than of employment. And we watch and feel time stretch.