Maccarone proudly presents Daniel Roth. The artist’s second exhibition with the gallery is a bewildering arrangement of works, unfolding a surrealist theater intermingling nature with culture and inducing the enigmatic qualities of place.
First installed at The South London Gallery in 2006, The Well is a sealed bunker that presumably receives and distributes a mysterious liquid via a network of piping. Displayed in close proximity is a map, charting London’s lost rivers that determined its geography. Today these waterways run underground into the city’s reservoirs, invisible yet critical to human civilization. In The Well, Roth mythologizes this tale, his sculpture acting as a curious machine that appears to be mechanical yet made of dirt and rock-like forms inherent in systems of nature. Though its presence is significant, its purpose is unknown, and its function elusive.
Two anthropomorphic sculptures compiled of tree bark layers, repurpose one of nature’s most fundamental exteriors as ritualistic attire, calling to mind cloaks draped on invisible human frames. A ubiquitous theme in fairy tales, Greek mythology and the sci-fi genre, the “cloak of invisibility” is commonly presented as the magical phenomenon essential for a characters’ transformation. Roth’s garments are vestiges of a metamorphosis; all that remains are traces of occurrences within a possible but unknown narrative. Though Roth culls from tales within his work, he refrains from telling the story, leaving only a faint trail for the viewer to take in one’s own direction.
Portmeiron, a photograph of three copious balloons hovering over a seascape, initiates a final portal into a hidden realm. The work’s title refers to the setting of the British spy fiction TV series, ´The Prisoner´. In the program these balloons capture fugitives through means of pacification. The orbs serve as relics of 20th century science fiction, illustrating man’s manipulation of organic materials for his own purpose. Yet in Roth’s treatment, they are given new meaning, floating in their own oneiric existence. The artist shatters the viewer’s compulsory itineraries, distorting one’s rationality through infectious connections.