David Osbaldeston’s occasional series of Notices draw upon the territory of ‘Institutional Critique’, which articulate the artist’s ongoing interest in the relationships between cultural events past and present.
The Notices aim to act as visual and ideological reminders of C18th or C19th leaflets or posters that could be attributed to radical or political movements of the period and produced as agents for change.
Their visual language is now charged with fixed meanings that have long been overtaken by developments in both sociology and technology. The posters are digitally reproduced inkjet prints of drawings that aim to mirror the urgency and authority of the printed word in a contemporary situation that increasingly demands change under quite different circumstances of cultural production.
Long since confined in any commercial sense to the dustbin as a form of image making, the hand-made etching presents itself as an outmoded technology. In an ideological battle of inappropriate wills between the hand-made and mechanically produced; like some bastard little brother of punk king Jamie Reid’s visual lexicon, or re-articulation of Tristan Tzara’s agit prop. A series of highly subjective reflections and observations fill the yawning surface of a billboard to produce a forced marriage of inconvenience. The laboriously hand-produced images form to complete a single massive etching of a photocopy of a drawing of a collage, rendered in black and white as an image of an image. The authority and logic of design is interrupted by digressive voices, as appropriated artworks appear as cameos, interspersed with an obsessive culture of pie charts and accountability – explored as construction, as fiction.David Osbaldeston’s work is concerned with the production of art and its positioning and reception, both within the gallery tradition and the structures that surround it. His ongoing publishing project Stellar uses drawing, collage and text to produce a critical response to the work of artists and galleries. In Your Answer is Mine obsolete visual languages that once penetrated the public consciousness are recalled as posters and pamphlets form reference points in an advertising copywriters’ allusion to describe what it might mean to maintain a radical view in order to affect one.
Made for a working situation where daily life is an ecosystem of objects and ideas in constant rotation and transition, the installation is made up of connecting-parts. Active ingredients such as gaps, openings and closings, and a series of graphology reports from previous visitors, offer covert methods of engagement. Central to this and occupying the entire length of the office floor is a fixed railing system upon which effortlessly glides the Mechanism For Future Reference: a tall idiosyncratic wooden-built structure, designed as a moveable sculpture and operational machine.
Held in place by black solid rectangular ‘memory blocks’ the mechanism places the viewer at the behest of technology, enabling them to travel backwards and forwards in space and time. The viewer will have access to the arrangement of artworks displayed in cryptic sequence above and below eye level. (Top & Bottom.) Like some out-of-kilter reference to a future history stuck on repeat, Mechanism For Future Reference inhabits a space between utilitarian workingfurniture and art-object-as-abstract-machine that kaleidoscopically helps reveal time as a substance folding in and against itself.
In a bid to form a parallel universe somewhere between the physical and ephemeral, images are fashioned into objects and objects are formed into images. The works are presented in an unexpected alignment of physical thingsto produce new meanings that require the physical act of opening.