Theodore:Art is very pleased to present Alasdair Duncan Signs for the Future: essen vil, essen der, elet insiir. This will be Duncan’s second solo exhibition with the gallery.
Alasdair Duncan makes colour saturated graphic Signs for the Future. Recalling the lexicon of our designed world, Duncan’s signs are stand-ins, signifying things that do not yet exist: not futurological predictions, rather they are emblems of the not yet imagined. They are familiar, but withhold their intentions; indeterminate yet full of promise. They often sink into their own representational space, or logical game. In this exhibition, Duncan presents an installation of signs applied across different media: painted panels, posters, c-prints and video.
The unknown, the future, is now commonly represented in terms of fear rather than opportunity: a catastrophic end to the world can be easier to imagine than the progressive enactment of substantively new, different and better ways of living. Against this backdrop Duncan is broadly interested in making art that relates to the yet-to-be known and knowable of the personal, social, political and technological, not without ambivalence, but as presenting positive, progressive opportunity through conditions of possibility which exist now, but which are beyond view from the state of affairs in which we find ourselves.
Duncan’s pieces are titled in, and often integrate, the language of Je Zaum, a play on the idea of the synthetic language of Zaum. The Russian Futurist poets Velimir Khlebnikov and Alexei Krucheykh coined Zaum (pronounced Za-oom), the name combines the Russian prefix за “beyond, behind” and the noun ум “the mind, nous”. Zaum was described as a universal language, a language of indeterminate meaning that stands in for thoughts yet to be conceived. Je Zaum rearticulates this.
Alasdair Duncan has had work included in numerous group shows in the UK, France, Japan, and Korea. He was commissioned to create artwork and signage for the 9th Congress of the New Lacanian School. In 2011 Duncan created special publication projects for Madame Wang and Schism Magazine. Duncan is a graduate of the Royal Academy School Post Graduate program, and received a BA from Goldsmiths College. Duncan lives and works in London.