The Paradox of Power

Indeed, all things move, all things run, all things are rapidly changing. A profile is never motionless before our eyes, but it constantly appears and disappears. On account of the persistency of an image upon the retina, moving objects constantly multiply themselves; their form changes like rapid vibrations, in their mad career. Thus a running horse has not four legs, but twenty, and their movements are triangular. – Umberto Boccioni

Text by Andria Hickey

David Spriggs’ large-scale sculptural installation, The Paradox of Power , is an investigation of rapid change, deconstruction and symbolic revolution. In the same vain as the Futurists, Spriggs is interested in the representation of time and motion in the sculptural form. Using layering as a device, Spriggs has developed “an environment that breaks free from the laws that constrict both two and three-dimensional materials, bringing together painting, drawing, photography, digital-modeling, and sculpture, to create a spatial topographic system”.

Spriggs airbrushes two-dimensional images onto multiple sheets of transparent film, which are hung together in horizontal cuts to form a three dimensional object. Here, the exhibited form is without edges, dismantling itself and coming together again in an act of cinematic play. His amorphous objects have the appearance of being suspended, contained and locked in a frozen moment, where time becomes a stratified cartography. The forms are illuminated and encased in museological terrariums-like scientific specimens of movement on display, becoming “alienated from the outside environment and open to observation and interpretation”.

For the exhibition of his graduate thesis at Art Mur, Spriggs has installed of a life-size model of a stratified bull, cut in two, with each end displayed in two adjacent cases, each a sublime eight feet high and ten feet wide. Spriggs’ investigation of the multiplicity of time and its relationship to the sculptural form is here transcribed in his an analysis of the bull as a semiotic agent. By literally deconstructing the bull through a layering of transparent stratum, the mythologized ‘power’ the bull represents is “fragmented, and reconstructed in an alternate reality.” The bull is rendered immobile, flipped upside down, legs in the air. The form is further transformed in the plastic anaglyphic binary colours of each half — a paradox of red and blue. This binary references not only the deconstructive possibilities of vision itself, but also an antithesis of power in the corporeality of the bull contained, divided and sacrificially immobilized. Like Muybridge’s running horse, Spriggs uses the representation of serialized time to suggest a paradoxical ordering of symbolic power.

David Spriggs was born in Manchester, England and currently resides in Montreal where he has just completed his MFA in Sculpture at Concordia University. Spriggs’ recently participated in the Public Art and New Artistic Strategies program at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany and has exhibited his work in New York, Toronto, London, Calgary, Vancouver and Germany.