This is Simon Martin's largest public exhibition in the UK to date, bringing together three years of work created in video, digital animation, and as installation. Martin's work is an extended enquiry into our relationship to objects, and the material world around us. He queries how and why we attribute different values and significance to inanimate, man-made objects. His work also probes how objects exert powers over us: echoing the philosopher Bruno Latour's recent arguments, Martin ponders what agency they possess in the world, and what mythologies we weave around them. His work asks such questions in a highly distinctive, softly spoken, and subtle manner. The New York Times has described Martin's works as "masterpiece[s] of poetic discretion".
The exhibition brings together four short films by Martin that exemplify two contrasting tendencies in his recent work. Carlton and Louis Ghost Chair dwell on what narrative film can achieve. The two works take the form of a monologue, accompanied by luxuriantly photographed details of the two objects in the titles, to prize open new meanings from historical objects. Both examine objects from the history of design, whose status is ambiguous, and problematic.
Two other works meanwhile, both untitled, adapt the logic of Structuralist film-making of the 1960s and 1970s, whilst subtly transforming it for an age dominated by digital rather than analogue photographic images.