James Rigler: At Every Fading of the Stars, Tramway
Sculptural show is a balance of ambiguity and charming familiarity
James Rigler’s work explores how we perceive the ordinary and the extraordinary, using domestic objects, architectural forms and salvaged items as his materials. The title At Every Fading of the Stars is a reference taken from Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities and is an apt harbinger for the many other cultural appropriations that inspire works in the show.
Rigler’s slick, carefully crafted ceramics are suggestive of the standardised models that make up the flat pack, facade driven obsessions within furniture, interiors and architecture in Postmodern times. Columns made from MDF and plastic with grandiose ceramic capitals appear across the space and are in place with the existing metal pillars in Tramway. The columns and their ceramic detailing command the space in a manner associative with Classical, authoritarian architecture. However, the saccharine pastel hues and glossy finishes of the ceramic elements are reminiscent of fresh-out-the box toys, or squeaky clean kitchen showrooms.
Two benches with ceramic feet and painted MDF tops are carefully placed as objects to discover in the space. While evocative of modern domestic furniture, the benches do not tempt a tactile or bodily response. Instead they work as smug and seductive objects that harbour an unpredictable ability to morph. A glossy ceramic ‘bin’ in a similar mould to the column capitals sits on the floor containing a roll of dull wallpaper, illustrating the shift in perception when a form is appropriated or removed from its original purpose.
At Every Fading of the Stars is an engaging balance of ambiguity and charming familiarity. We are left contemplating the assumptions, associations and distinctions we draw from an object's form, material and historical significance.