ROTOR solo exhibition at Huddersfield Art Gallery
The title of this solo exhibition from Jill Townsley is a direct quote from Camus 1942 book ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’, where he concludes that happiness can be found in the simple repeated action of labour. He uses the analogy of King Sisyphus, who in the Greek myth was condemned by Zeus to an eternity of repetitive labour; tasked to roll a rock up a hill, a rock that before reaching the top would always just roll back down again.
The work in this exhibition demonstrates a similar dedication towards repeated actions of labour. Materials such as, till rolls and plastic spoons, are appropriated for any characteristics that can indicate repetitive ways of working. The final artworks are accumulations, often vast in scale, such as a sculpture made from 10,000 till rolls, or a large pyramid made from 9273 plastic spoons, who’s form slowly decays over the time of the exhibition.
The time based element of many of the works offer a system of moments, such as a video logging numbers being chalked on a blackboard from 1 to 840. The two hour continuous labour is rewarded only by a return, as the whole process loops around, beginning again from number 1. Another installation shows the development of 5 scribbled drawings. Five screens offer a sequence of 500 moments in the development of each drawing, moments that would (if left unrecorded) be erased by the continuity of repeated labours.
Jill’s work presents us with singular actions; each action becomes part of a community, able to operate within a larger whole. In this way each repetition has value towards a greater intent. In this context the act of repeating is capable of questioning wider cultural concerns, such as: time and temporality, the concept of the moment, failure, erasure and authorship.