7 January – 1 February 2003
White Cube Hoxton Square
I have just begun to think about the story for the show.
The story is about another interlocked (time) passage through the house (isolated windows) in Poland, which appeared in my recent show in Karlsruhe. Dark interiors lead the visitor to a crime, or rather, into the unstable atmosphere of something mysterious going on. The speculation about this uncanny feeling is connected to the Palais de Justice in Brussels.
It would be good to install a curtain in the doorway, so the space is dark while showing the projection (I'll buy a special projector + tripod). The projection is connected to and synchronized with the gallery lighting system. In the stairwell, the visitor comes across a photograph of the interior of the company office next door to White Cube, and an invoice issued by this office. The invoice indicates that someone has ordered special wooden wings from a local Hoxton tailor working for the Royal House.
These wooden wings become visible when the projection ends and the lights in the space come on again.
Like Borges's legendary story, The Garden of Forking Paths, each of Daniel Roth's installation-stories is an intricate series of elements that clues a compelling yet, ultimately, hermetic narrative. Each consecutive story - details of which sometimes drift and transform from one installation to the next - is made up of various components: large, spectral drawings on paper, board or wall which depict Triffid-like vegetation consuming the lines of imagined Platonic architectures; photographic documents and descriptions of distant, sometimes defunct locations or deliberately obscure characters and objects; the odd material trace from life; arcane, meticulously constructed sculptures; timed slide projections, and so on. The Situationists invented the 'psychogeographic method' as a subversive tool against the rationalist strictures of the modern city, and Roth's melancholic installations function in much the same way - Robert Smithson meets Raymond Chandler on the path of doubt and inconclusiveness - and thus the visitor is led out of the white cube into the echoing terrain of metaphysics.
Mai Thu Perret has aptly described the structure of Roth's work along the lines of 'the paranoid-critical method' usually associated with the detective story where narrative works in reverse, deconstructing itself from an opening conclusion (crime) to retrace all possible sources of suspicions, thus generating multiple, equally probable narratives. In his installations, the most banal of objects - in the current case, invoice no. 701XXK from a neighbourhood tailor - may trigger the shift from the familiar world into an expanded mnemonic double, made all the more uncanny because the strangeness of the whole experience is rooted in the immediate, recognizable environment. Roth's meticulously wrought scenarios draw the visitor into a tentative process of investigation where no object can or should be taken at face value. In doing so, they loosen the boundary between the gallery's tangible reality and the artist's fictional construction. It is this space between things and between heterogeneous levels of experience that the visitor is invited to inhabit.
Born in 1969, Daniel Roth currently lives and works in Karlsruhe, Germany.