David Raymond Conroy presents a series of works that investigate the idea of fidelity in everyday experience; the truth or accuracy of a copy, a reproduction or a representation.
The title of the exhibition, PPE or It is Spring and I am Blind, refers to the renowned University of Oxford course in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE). Conroy employs these subjects as a lens to explore how he makes artistic judgments, attaches value to the materials he chances upon, and incorporates these materials into his work.
A series of three-dimensional works Documentary Sculptures are made from loose assemblages of furniture which replicate ‘readymade’ flea market displays. The works incorporate image slideshows compiled from eBay auctions, including images of mirrors in which people have tried (and failed) to avoid being captured by the camera lens.
Conroy describes his interest in exploring the contradictory ideas of the authenticity and artifice in the everyday: “There is a moment that can happen through the process of representation where something will seem authentic, we will read something and it will feel honest or we will see something and it will strike us as true. But the joy of something feeling real doesn’t come from it being reality. Perhaps that is the heart of it, that there seems to be a gap between feeling and being; that in order to make something feel authentic the only way is to create something artificial.”
The phrase It is Spring and I am Blind is taken from an anecdote often attributed to advertising guru David Ogilvy. Pointing to the power of a romantic narrative Ogilvy used the example of an advertising executive who, on his way to work one morning, stops to alter a beggar’s sign from ‘I am blind, please help’ to ‘It is spring and I am blind’. On returning that evening the executive is delighted to see the beggar’s cap overflowing with donations.
A sound work entitled Do You is presented on six assorted domestic stereos distributed across the gallery. Conroy invited three actors to read a script constructed from a lecture given by the American scriptwriter, producer and director Charlie Kaufman. The lecture highlighted the importance of remaining true to ones own line of enquiry rather than following prescribed patterns.
Download the Education Notes here: David Raymond Conroy Education Notes
David Raymond Conroy
David Raymond Conroy (1978) was born in Reading and lives and works in London. Conroy holds an MA in Printmaking from the Royal College of Art, London. Recent solo exhibitions include: PPE, or It is spring and I am blind, Modern Art Oxford (2013); L’homme qui voulait savoir, Galerie GP & N Vallois, Paris (2012); and It Was Part of it Before. And Now, Seventeen Gallery (2009). Selected group exhibitions include: Blastomere, Young Projects, Los Angeles; Shadows of a Doubt, Kunsthalle Tallinn, Estonia; No one lives here, Royal College of Art, London; Version Control, Arnolfini, Bristol (all 2013); and Anti-Photography, Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea (2011).