Sadie Coles HQ is delighted to present a new installation by Hilary Lloyd, opening in Frieze Week at the gallery’s project space at 62 Kingly Street, The Shop. This is the first exhibition to take place in the small street-level space adjoining the main gallery, and Lloyd has constructed a multipart installation which harnesses its intimate, domestic scale. To one side is a large tie-dyed curtain, its variegations mimicking the recent lunar eclipse. In its combination of patterned surface and photographic imagery, the curtain finds a parallel in the series of films which play in unison on monitors and as projections. In these Lloyd swerves between – and collapses together – glimpses of the material world and phases of sensual abstraction.
The four-part collage of films comprising Robot shows Lloyd increasingly using digital editing techniques alongside diverse sequences of raw and found footage. Throughout, she returns to images of automatist doodles created on a computer – clusters of stars, snaking lines, or coloured circles dragged into meandering daisy-chain loops or wobbly grids, against backgrounds of lilac and green. These convoluted, at times cloyingly decorative symbols and scribblings become the strangely alluring punctuation marks within a ranging and referential sequence of images, suggesting the robotic hardwiring or encrypted sequences that underlie crisp digitised surfaces. At the same time, they harbour an incongruously handmade and haphazard quality (the computerised gradations of colour mirroring, for example, the effects of the tie-dyed fabric). At moments, Lloyd shuffles rapidly between similar images to evoke their quick-fire evolution on the computer screen; while elsewhere, her camera observes the erratic marks with the slowly zooming ‘gaze’ that has regularly characterised her films. Spontaneous marks and scattered glyphs – of the kind quickly created and quickly erased – are thereby subjected to an unnervingly prolonged and unerring kind of scrutiny, gaining their own unlikely beauty and formalist logic in the process.
In each of these digital concoctions, space is an uncertain quantity – the patterns occupy a single flat plane, while the amorphous fields of colour or blurred forms suggest spatial depth. The same interplay of surface and depth, and exacting attention to incidental or transient visions, extends to all of the films in Robot. In a diptych-style pairing of projected videos, shots of brightly coloured flowers resembling cut-out patterns or digital superimpositions are observed above a blurry ground, alongside a close-up of origami animals. Lloyd’s focus and framing move by infinitesimal degrees, homing in on the objects to produce a kind of jamais-vu sensation of alienation or otherness. On a separate monitor, everyday spectacles – a cat, a pair of felt hats – are subjected to sudden phantasmagorical effects, saturated with colour, or interspersed with pyramidal motifs built from the same chains of digital ellipses. In a large projection covering the monitors and surrounding walls, granulated footage of a dog chewing on a toy is bathed in vivid tinctures of lilac and yellow, the viewpoint rotated and cropped so that the animal’s purposeful movements and the marks of its black-and-white fur acquire a near-abstract dimension. A glimpse of a wind-up toy robot reveals the source of the installation’s whirring, mechanical soundtrack. Obsessive, recursive and verging on the haywired, fragments of everyday reality emanate a robotic aura.
Hilary Lloyd (b. 1964) lives and works in London. She has exhibited internationally, with solo exhibitions at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel (2012, accompanied by an extensive catalogue); Artists Space, New York (2011); Raven Row, London (2010); Tramway, Glasgow, UK (2009); Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2009); Kunstverein München, Münich (2006); Waiters, Henry Moore Foundation Contemporary Projects, Venice Biennale (2003); Kino der Dekonstruktion, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt (2000); and Chisenhale Gallery, London (1999). She was nominated for the 2011 Turner Prize for her exhibition of 2010 at Raven Row, London. Current and recent group shows include Von Bildern, Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel; Dora, Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston University (where she was appointed the first Dorich House Fellow in 2015); Over you / you, 31st Biennial of Graphic Arts Ljubljana (2015); A Singular Form, Secession, Vienna (2014); Remote Control, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2012). In 2016 Lloyd will have solo exhibitions at the Blaffer Art Museum, Houston, and Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea.