“T Rooms is homely and sterile.
It is mass-produced and individualist.
Ultra-modern and traditional.
This here is what people want. It's what we all want." *
Following on from his ambitious solo exhibition at Tramway in Glasgow (January–March 2012), the London iteration of T Rooms will extend the artist's inquiry into sculpture, social critique, urban architecture and design.
For Darbyshire's exhibition at Tramway the artist created a trompe l'oeil environment implying a fictional situation where T Rooms – a 'village in the city' – was under construction. For the Zabludowicz Collection, Darbyshire has rethought this work and created a second enveloping sculptural installation utilising large scale digitally printed banners which reference the building wraps used by developers and councils to obscure empty lots and half-finished building projects in cities up and down the country. Whether covering repair-work on historic buildings or masking empty shops and building sites, these ubiquitous digital renderings communicate an alternative in which the city is the image of perfection; bustling with life and with the recession a distant memory.
The Zabludowicz Collection has commissioned Darbyshire to restage T Rooms and create new art works which will be installed within and around a labyrinth of printed banners. These new works build upon his long-term collaborations with Rupert Ackroyd, Jacob Farrell, Owen Hatherley, Bob Hobbs and Scott King. Through sculpture, photography, film and sound, these works will infiltrate the area surrounding T Rooms, taking the exhibition out of the gallery space and into the street.
T Rooms reflects on the insistent regeneration of our cities, which is initiated by developers and politicians rather than architects or designers. By using the developers' vernacular of branded motifs distilled from iconic local sites, sharper-than-life computer-generated geometry and uniform symmetry, Darbyshire's installation riffs on this architectural vocabulary and the various generic yet indecipherable uses it implies. The effect is of an eerily quiet, undefined public space that promotes isolation and alienation and causes visitors to question the realities and potentials of architecture.
Matthew Darbyshire on the exhibition and commission: “In the development of this project, rather than getting too pop and “Twenty Twelve", I was thinking about the very real possibility of regression, and the potential for a more oblique commentary on the social, political and cultural implications of what's being built around us today. The tour of this exhibition from Glasgow to London is a really exciting opportunity for me to build upon these ideas and develop new collaborations with the support of the Zabludowicz Collection."
“The Zabludowicz Collection has been collecting Matthew Darbyshire's work in depth for some time. This exhibition marks the progression of our support into a large scale exhibition and commission. In this momentous Olympic year, when all eyes are on the UK, we sense the urgency of his work and feel his voice contains an essential criticality in the discussion over the 'regeneration' of our cities and towns." Elizabeth Neilson, Curator
The exhibition is curated by Elizabeth Neilson, Director at the Zabludowicz Collection and is accompanied by an extensive public programme of talks, events and screenings as well as an artist's book, designed by Malcolm Southward and Mark Holt. Affordable limited edition art works produced by Darbyshire are available at the gallery and online: shop.zabludowiczcollection.com.
Matthew Darbyshire is represented by Herald St, London and Jousse Entreprise, Paris
Extract from T Rooms, 2012. Artist's book by Matthew Darbyshire with Owen Hatherley.