Rebecca Ackroyd: 100mph at Peres Projects

Rebecca Ackroyd
Peres Projects
Karl-Marx-Allee 82, 10243 Berlin
January 22 – March 5, 2021
All images copyright and courtesy of the artist(s) and Peres Projects

Peres Projects presents 100mph, Rebecca Ackroyd’s second solo exhibition at the gallery.

Ackroyd’s installation has brought the walls of the gallery space closer, scaffolding obscures the view through the windows, and Ackroyd’s paintings hang from these temporary, supportive structures against cloudy, translucent dust sheets. These structures make the incongruous suggestion of impermanence, in cityscapes where those frames are the urban’s most enduring symbol of continual growth and change. In 100mph we step into the building site where her works stage processes of both demolition and construct new formulations.

Rebecca Ackroyd is interested in the twinned experiences of personal and collective memory, and how we reconcile their dissonance in our lives. The works in this exhibition deal with personal psychology, through an exploration of dreams and through strategies of compartmentalization – both tools for processing and digesting our experiences. In her second exhibition at Peres Projects, Ackroyd architecturally intervenes in the space with semitransparent, plastic dividers, creating pods that isolate both the works and the viewer. In navigating the installation, we are alone with each work, given space to experience the drawings privately. Isolation diminishes stimulation, the busyness of the street outside momentarily blurred, and allows for a more intimate encounter.

Hair tells stories. Like rings on a tree, it records our personal histories as the physical embodiment of time.  Simultaneously, hair is socially charged: if and how it’s coiffed, shown or covered, worn curly or straight. Ackroyd’s works on paper are often centered around hair. It sweeps through the composition to camouflage or cradle objects, letters and other signifiers, with an agency of its own. These clues lead us through a narrative centered around contemporary experiences of femininity within urban spaces. The drawings are fragments, the whole is obscured, the body is abstracted through scale and repetition, becoming both bodily and speculative. Ackroyd’s sculptural works are also often fragmented, resembling remnants uncovered in archaeological digs. Both act as filaments connecting histories and loaded objects, populating the gallery space with discarded and forgotten attachments of the past. Through an exposed kneecap, a torn stocking, or a glimpse of talons, the works in the exhibition create a sensory reality that straddles the imagined real and symbolic, borrowing from the destabilizing surreal visual language of dreams. As viewers, we trespass into Ackroyd’s own dreams, invited to appropriate them as our own. In so doing, the works assemble a contemporary feminine perspective on sexuality, desire and the subconscious.

100mph sensitively reflects on themes of sexuality, narratives of progress, our built environments, and the subconscious mind. Setting together conflicting momentums of extended and suspended time – the mind racing, but going nowhere. An entangled mixture of social commentary and personal reflection, posited to the viewer as a circuit through the process of renovation, and the repair and wreckage that entails.