18 November - 5 December 1998

Spiro Farrugia, <i>Rewind, Replay, Reflect</i>, 1998.
Spiro Farrugia, Rewind, Replay, Reflect, 1998.

The artists in Absent-Absenoldeb are concerned with what is not seen, and what our suppositions would fill the blanks with. Through video and slide projection, the two WaIes-based artists have produced subtle works that demonstrate our tendency to fill in the gaps when presented with an incomplete set of facts.

Rewind, Replay, Reflect by Spiro Farrugia comprises a shimmering image of an indistinct scene in which figures and objects flit in and out of recognition. The projected video straddles the corner of the room, distorting the image. This is Hitchcock’s Rear Window syndrome whereby the viewer/voyeur struggles to make sense of the occurrences glimpsed through a frosted window. Transient shadows fill the space of this piece, but there is an ambiguity between those from the video work and those from the viewer.

“The irreversible past leaves moments in time that our present physical world will never allow us to revisit. Memory facilitates a desire for fantasy. Rewind, Replay, Reflect dramatises the conflict in the mind between fantasy and reality.”

The absence becomes two-fold with Helen Matthews’ work trace. She looks at the elusive glimpses that we gain through a process of remembering and recollection. Matthews’ work hints at the futility of rebuilding a narrative from such elastic images as, say, an anonymous family album; from an image that was once the present. Decayed, destroyed, aged or lost? An ‘identity’ unknown. Confronted with such absence we may seek meaning, or an image within. We as secondary narrators may attempt to reconstruct a presence, presence that never existed.

“•trace/treis: observe, discover, or find vestiges or signs of by investigation; a sign or mark or other indication of something having existed; a vestige (has the traces of a vanished beauty).”

  • Spiro Farrugia, <i>Rewind, Replay, Reflect</i>, 1998.