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readymade, 2011 Solo Exhibition at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, Troy, New York

(Link to video of The Muse)

Some thoughts on readymade

My hope it that this exhibition creates a sense of mythological space, where the motifs and characters function as fragments from a larger narrative body.  I am interested in exploring storytelling, especially how in the folkloric tradition fiction finds its roots and resonance in the realm of reality.  I started thinking about cave paintings and the theory of mythopoeic thought –when, at one point our ancient relatives made no distinction between the spirit world and their own.  For myself as I worked, the imagery started to create itself and determine it’s own trajectory, much like an author might get to know more about a character through the process of writing itself.  Perhaps that relates a bit to the shamanistic nature of cave paintings, regardless I have adopted an utter suspension of disbelief in this stuff.

The exhibition title, readymade relates directly to The Muse, the automaton-like bicycle playing record player and the wooden constructions and drawings in the piece (which my three year old daughter said were “robots”).  However, in a broader sense the readymade and the automaton are the embodiments of a series of preprogrammed actions, which relate to systems –namely those concerned with the normalization of behaviors and paradigms.  The wooden board, the box, the bike, the tent – are structures that attempt the organization of the world through logical methodologies.  The figures, often barefooted and backwards, exist in a troubled relationship with these paradigmatic systems.

I would be remiss, not to admit that the roots of this work are in fact “of” this world, and if the true calling of myth is to make sense of events on both a personal and global scale, then this is one way they filter through.  Especially stories that relay some basic human endeavor seem to inevitably weave their way into my work. 

Samuel Rowlett, readymade, bicycle record player