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Kim Neudorf
Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens at Forest City Gallery in London
May 07, 2013

In the small collection of works by Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens currently at Forest City Gallery, pre-conditioned and sterile systems become the haptic story arcs, buffer zones, or counterweights of failed or brief transmissions. While a familiarity with the artists' past projects adds some context to the exhibition, lacking a back-story means viewers must invent both their orientation into and towards the work.

Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens

Near the gallery's entrance, a crown-shaped drawing resembling weather patterns has a vaguely domestic feel to it, as if theorizing a time-saving way to vacuum a living room, hang ceiling fixtures, or outsmart an infestation of ants. In two other sets of drawings on the gallery's main walls, other diagrammatic configurations behave like assembly lines funneled towards the clean and orderly. The brain tries to take into account each signal, notation, and blandly pleasant sequence of lines, but is met with deflection. Without captions or titles each diagram is pushed into a kind of failed choreography or archaic formula.

On a temporary wall two columns of text sit beneath a Zeppelin-shaped silhouette or the profile of a bullet, its character mimicking the declarative volume of an emblem. The text – in the cut-and-paste, unnatural mash of tones similar to that generated by spam-bots – mixes shopping channel news with vaguely political, vaguely military headlines in which protests, film-adaptations, and trials are fitted with high-end shoe designs. A single statement beneath the text reads, "the formatting of a great number of copies", suggesting both vital distribution and the sterility of office cubicle jargon. The "cheap" fulfillment of purchasing a high-end product becomes a vital actor within the affect of "hardline" news. While this invites relationships to the tangential within the truncated, communicative skeletons of the textual and symbolic, ideas of further use seem purposefully frustrated or suspended.

This theme is explored from a different angle in the video Real failure needs no excuse projected at the back of the gallery. Here Ibghy and Lemmens' interest in the "potential of non-productive action" is played out among a variety of objects in the sterile space and muffled stage of an empty office building. Lemmens improvises various installations of chairs, trashcans, planks of wood, desks, blinds, and other seemingly found objects and materials. The life of the assemblages is based on gravity, which she responds to with curt, almost hurried decisions, instantly replacing every piece as it collapses, shutting down any sense of finality. The temporality of each failure is drawn out through multi-plot editing; cuts are made mid-consequence, cued by the sound of scrapes, thumps, squeaks, flaps, or, at mid-point, a "Toreador!" tune-plus-dance. This builds to a frustrated set of non-results, heightened by the indifferent audience of the office space itself, while each object slides or droops with narcolepsy or stares with frozen, comedic incredulousness at its new circumstances.

Forest City Gallery:
Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens: Everyone else is a robot continues to May 24.

Kim Neudorf is an artist and writer currently living in London, Ontario. Her paintings have shown widely in Alberta, including the Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Stride Gallery, and Skew Gallery in Calgary. She has contributed writing to FFWD,, Prairie Artsters, Hamilton Arts & Letters, Stride Gallery, Truck Gallery, and most recently Susan Hobbs Gallery. She is Akimbo's London correspondent and can be followed @KimNeudorf on Twitter.



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