Richard Ducker



february 2016

The gallery has been taken over by an alien presence. There is a slippage in the space-time fabric. Scattered about the floor dumb boulders are linked together by piping, as if breathing or communicating, while a family of aliens disguised as abstract sculptures look on. Inserted between is a strange experiment with unclear intentions. Contact is attempted.

The conduit, the receiver, the prism through which time fragments, is geometric and translucent. It is a rotating philosopher’s stone, through which another authorial voice is revealed: a past lives reading of the artist*. This sound-piece accompanies a small double self-portrait of the artist as a young boy hanging on an adjacent wall. There is nothing remarkable about the image – it could have been any young boy from anytime between the 1930s and the 1970s. It is out of time, a disjuncture, a nostalgia that fascinates, where the implications of the specific collide with a past that is constructed from history lessons, television, and cinema. Contact is attempted.


Connecting these discrete elements is a wall text. However, the words are untrustworthy, devious, and are out to mislead. Unspecified surveillance permeates the spliced extracts from the writings of the ‘Heavens Gate’ cult, and ‘clippings’ from the artist’s own spam box and Facebook feed. Barely readable through lack of punctuation, it offers a glimpse into the overload of a repressed economy, the collapse of privacy, and its corollary, the conspiracy theory’s paranoiac escapism. Contact is attempted.


These elastic narratives within the autobiographical, of adopted memories and constructed myths, are locked into a spectacle of theatrical interplay. The sculptural object as staged prop, the linguistic deficit, and the curatorial directive of the private, all contribute to this brackish movement of history as fiction, rendering the present unstable and imprecise. With recall and displacement having their effect, it is the sense of ‘wrong place, wrong time' that prevails.  Contact failed.

*Past lives reading by Michelle Hawcroft recorded at the College of Psychic Studies.

Richard Ducker has exhibited widely throughout the UK and internationally, including the following: Kettles Yard, Cambridge; Serpentine Gallery; Royal Academy,  Edinburgh; Mappin Gallery,  Sheffield;  The Kitchen,  New York; The Yard Gallery, Nottingham; Katherine E Nash Gallery, Minnesota, USA; Flowers Central; Cell Project Space; Standpoint Gallery; CGP; Anthony Reynolds Gallery; Angus-Hughes Gallery, Coleman Projects; and Dalla Rosa Gallery. Richard Ducker also curates under the name of Fieldgate Gallery, which he founded in 2006.

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