troika: the far side of reason exhibition, mexico city
troika: the far side of reason exhibition, mexico city troika: the far side of reason exhibition, mexico city
apr 25, 2013

troika: the far side of reason exhibition, mexico city

‘squaring the circle’


troika: the far side of reason exhibition, mexico cityOMR gallery, mexico city, mexico9 april – 16 june, 2013


troika‘s new solo show at the OMR gallery in mexico city presents several pieces that explore the fundamental tension between perception and reality; fact and purpose; subject and object; culture and nature.


he exhibition underlines the paradoxes of human existence and questions a dualistic vision of the world in favour of a possible synthesis. the far side of reason brings together both existing and five new works that deliver the investigative nature of this query and troika’s practise, through drawing, painting, installation and sculpture.


starting from the premise that scientific method gave rise to a mechanistic society where logic and reason stands in strict opposition to the subjective part of man, the work offers us an insight into these apparent paradoxes, and troika the impetus to disentangle the purpose of science, in favour of exploring the intimate arena of the unexplainable.


‘squaring the circle’ (2013), a new work argues that if every method of inquiry reveals a particular facet of the truth or the nature of reality; their seemingly antithetical forms should find reconciliation in the knowledge, that ‘one-ness’ has a plurality of embodiments. ‘hierophany’ (2013) acknowledges and contemplates the emerging complexity resulting from simple interactions. ‘suspension of disbelief’ (2013) suggests a synthesis between agnostic reason and intuitive belief; while ‘light drawings’ (2012) examines the wilful submission to the unknown applying control over what is inherently uncontrollable.



‘squaring the circle’, 2013 – dimensions : 77.5 cm (d) x 139 cm (h) x 139 cm (h)


squaring the circleevolved from philosophical and empirical debates. quantum theory and edwin abbott’s satirical novel flatland (1884), where the inhabitants of a two-dimensional world cannot recognise nor conceive a three-dimensional object, leave conceptual imprints on the shape of the sculpture.


constructed from steel and wrapped in a dense black flock flannel that absorbs light, ‘squaring the circle’ is both resolutely simple and intriguingly complex. confronted with the sculpture, viewers have their visual sensibilities challenged: they see a black circular sculpture, but in the huge mirror opposite their ‘impossible reflection’ reveals them viewing a black square.


as such, the sculpture points towards a possible unity of seemingly antithetical forms, which escape traditional dualistic visions and can conceptually be extended to the pluralistic conceptions of our reality and ourselves, suggesting an inherent, unattainable underlaying coherence.



‘squaring the circle’



‘suspension of disbelief’, 2013 – dimensions : 30 x 200 cm



suspension of disbelief’a pillar of light is met by a fresnel lens refracting the rays of light that travel through its focal point. on exiting the lens the rays do not simply change direction but continue into a half arch, and contrary to what one would expect, form a structure reminiscent of a half arch.


the installation creates a spatial suspension of disbelief which questions our relationship with the metaphysical in a world increasingly governed by practical, rational and scientific principles. by confronting the viewer with the impossible phenomenon of bending light it creates a space for contemplation and introspection, suggesting a synthesis between agnostic reason and intuitive belief.


the arch of light lies between the intangible and physical, the visible and the seemingly impossible. it asks the viewer to pause and contemplate the surrounding space whilst promoting openness rather than closure. the illusion doesn’t usurp but rather re-enforces the experience of a space.  here, in the spirit of stain-glass, of ‘lux nova’, in which spirituality is invoked through light, science invokes the sublime.



‘path of least resistance’, ‘path of most resistance’, ‘delta’ at OMR gallery mexico


path of least resistance, path of most resistance, delta‘path of least resistance’ presents the remains of a 50,000 volts electric discharge as it burns its way through paper. the series of delicates fractal patterns reveal an imminently natural rule as the electric current propagates through the medium unpredictably but always where it is easier for it to go. the results evokes rivers, tributaries, oxbow lakes, blood vessels, veins, capillaries, and plant roots, the patterns of which all stemming from the same genetic law.


there, in a process of defiant playfulness, the order of nature is revealed by the mean of a sophisticated and terrifying technology, while the tracery and vulnerability of the edges where it meets the void are reflections of our desire as human beings to ‘physically master’ nature.


with ‘delta’ (2013), the charred pathway distinctly assumes the patterning of a river delta, while ‘path of most resistance’ forces the charge to assume a circular pattern, one of the first figures of abstraction, in an act reminiscent of the ‘opera contra natura’ of promethean myths.



‘path of least resistance – delta’, 2013, dimensions : various



‘path of least resistance – delta’ (detail)



‘path of most resistance’, 2012, dimensions : various



‘small bang’, 2013 – dimensions : various



small bangsthe ‘small bang’ series links conceptually to ‘squaring the circle’, but here troika’s material is black ink. the circle or dot of ink is applied to chromatography paper, which reacts by separating the dye until the black disappears. what is left are concentric shapes that bleed and spread with myriad colours.


the artworks are therefore not what they seem: for they are both the various colours that make up the absolute black ink and the separated colours of its intrinsic makeup. the title ‘small bang’ also suggests the fundamental origins of the big bang of the universe, and the fact that all matter was created from darkness.



‘small bang’, 2013



 ‘small bang’, 2013



‘hierophany’, 2013 – dimensions : various



hierophanythe hierophany’ series points towards the limits of the reductionist approach and a synthesis between the logic and the metaphysical.


the framed sculptural drawings, constructed from tens of thousands of black and white dice, are investigations using the logic and algorithms of cellular automatas, a class of extremely simple binary programs first studied by john von neumann, one of the father of digital computing, and which have puzzled scientists ever since.


with their palette of dice, each one placed in an order pre-determined by a set of rules, unpredictable patterns emerge, a phenomenon in direct opposition with the reductionist approach of science. the completed sculpture drawings, with their variety of dramatic patterns, harbour within them the dynamics of their gestation and construction.


in ‘hierophany’, there is something that lie neither within the rules nor the starting point and which creates pattern showing great randomness, in between chaos and order, again pointing towards metaphysical questions for the understanding of its source.


further more, these astonishing patterns are only revealed to us through the act of making the work, here a synthesis between two states not commonly associated, reducing oneself to a machine performing simple binary computations, the other, as it takes a long time to perform, a kind of playful and meditative approach, akin to the one reach creating mandalas.



‘hierophany’, 2013 – dimensions : various



‘falling light’, 2010 – each mechanism: 69 cm (l) x 11.8 cm (d) x 50 cm (h)



falling lightover a century after sir isaac newton had dissected the phenomenon of the rainbow, english poet john keats commented that science had robbed nature and the rainbow of its spectacle by reducing its notion to prismatic colours. ‘falling light’ challenges this belief, with a captivating cinematographic interplay between crystal prisms and the preternatural experience they are able to create.


here, the ceiling suspended mechanical devices, each incorporating a custom cut swarovski crystal optical lens, a computer programmed motor and a white led, propose a vision of technology which works in symbiosis with the natural.


the white-painted metal armatures rise in syncopation by rotating cam before gravity releases them earthward, activating the light to move away, closer to the crystal lens. the lens acts as a prism, transforming through diffraction the white light into a rainbow myriad, in turn creating the rhythmical ebb and flow of the floor-strewn droplets.

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