LOST IN THE DIORAMA
L O S T I N T H E D I O R A M A
an exhibition by
FOLDS OF RED VELVET UNDULATE EVER SO SLOWLY
1. EXT. STRONG, ALL-CONSUMING LANDSCAPE – MIDDAY
The midday sun peaks through ominous clouds. PAN SLOWLY DOWN to a sweeping rock formation. In the foreground, a plane of wild grass sways in the low HUMMING wind. The grass is punctuated by vibrant red flags, which shield three indiscernible figures that move the red fabric in a rhythmic motion.
2. EXT. WILD GRASS – MIDDAY
One of the three figures silently falls to the ground. PAN OUT to a lone telescope planted on the earth, pointed optimistically up to cloudy skies.
Human fallibility lies at the heart of Jack Condon’s enquiry in his new body of work, ‘Lost In The Diorama’.
Following his prior exhibition, the artworks in ‘Lost In The Diorama’ are full of weirdness, disguised as fabricated scenes that appear ordinary at first, but which are littered with clues that suggest something darker.
Each artwork in the series presents disparate yet similar worlds - ones we don’t simply watch or react to, but that we fully inhabit. They appear more or less like our own, but in which we sense obey their own rules.
Taking cues from cinematography, the artworks possess a Lynchian sensibility that make no attempt to excuse or conceal their constructed foundations. In Planet Laundry, we are presented with a scene not uncommon in the home – a pile of clothes dumped in a heap on the floor. In a diversion from reality, the mundane pile takes on an otherworldly guise, luminous and set amidst a backdrop of stars. Like an optical illusion, it could almost look like another world entirely, were it not for a few key giveaways.
The atmospheric scene would have transporting effects were its artifice and construction not so evident – an intentional act by the artist to offer a glimpse into a new reality, but to quickly jolt us back into our own.
Jack Condon comments, “I like the idea of lighting and situations that almost make sense and are convincing but ultimately fail. I try to push the boundary of believable fictions as far as I can.I want to sneak in these fallibilities to add a layer to the dissolution of truth inherent in any photograph."
With each work intentionally veiled in artifice, the artist references the constructions we’ve built around ourselves, as individuals and communities. Through them, we have created the framework, the narratives and the ideologies we hold tight to in order to make sense of our world.
In a departure from his previous series, Jack Condon incorporates new idiosyncrasies into his worlds by way of nature and outer space.
Creeping into otherwise urban and domestic subjects, it signals the artist’s examination of nature and its limitless perfection against our own human limitations.
Symbolic for a type of perfection we’ll never achieve and a reality we’ll never inhabit, nature is uncontrolled and non-fabricated. By tapping into historic episodes like The Space Race and the rise of Communism, we are reminded that our attempts to achieve a ‘perfect’ society via the mastery of space or the creation of utopia have systematically fallen flat. Human fallibility lies at the heart of these grand declines.
This examination is apparent in none more so than Telescope Ritual. In his most obvious diversion, Telescope Ritual depicts a powerful natural landscape; unconstructed and free from artifice. In the foreground, three undulating red flags conceal human figures, and the lens of a lone telescope points towards the sky in an optimistic but ultimately useless gesture – the sky is too bright and too veiled by clouds for the manmade apparatus to provide the figures with any glimpse into another reality.
In direct contradiction to the other works, Telescope Ritual depicts a scene so naturally powerful that no artifice is required. And much like the dancing, faceless figures, we will continue to pay homage to nature, dance with red flags and continue our quest to see new realities, but ultimately, we’ll be brought back to our own world, which we will inhabit with each other, with a shared knowing of our own fallibility.
- Rachel de Graaf