David Armstrong Six  /  Night School

This exhibition presents the most recent works of David Armstrong Six and consists of an installation especially made for the Darling Foundry’s main hall, as well as various sculptures independently arranged in the space. Having previously offered a perspective on the human condition through abstract sculptural compositions with anthropomorphic poses, his focus now shifts to the imprint of civilizations and the legacy of different cultures. Using conglomerates of undefined forms, disparate and anachronistic objects affixed to each other, the artist proposes a temporal and formal compression through a fictional archeology that questions the future of the world in a disturbing yet ironic way.

His sculptures result from an assembly of abstract modules associated with several distinctive elements of different eras, found almost systematically in the compositions: oversized castings of leeches, fossilized concrete rocks or construction debris, and petrified fragments of Chinatown signage. Previous work has already shown the artist’s interest in prehistoric organisms through the presence of the Nautilus, a marine species whose origin dates to half a billion years ago. In a similar manner, the leech, a prehistoric freshwater animal—a hematophagous, invertebrate hermaphrodite with two hearts—has traversed time. While the leech may provoke repulsion, scientists today are gaining new interest in its medicinal value.

The last distinctive element present in the sculptures is bubble wrap, a plastic lining currently used to protect objects, particularly artworks. Its characteristic pattern leaves a hollow imprint on the different elements, causing an anachronism. Through a process of inversion, its initial enveloping nature reveals a negative print of the protected object, activating the agency of positive and negative space, and the play of memory and anticipation.

The central installation presents a massive tube hanging in the middle of the space, suggesting various registers: a cave—the underground passage through rock—or a tunnel, an enormous orifice, or even the section of a spaceship where archives are kept. Mysterious prints hang from the picture rail, which at first glance appear to be specimens of endangered species, but which upon closer inspection turn out to be prints of shoes that have been enlarged and reframed.

A voyage through time drawing on the aesthetics of the ruin, this conglomerate of forms and amalgamation of different components question humanity’s impact on earth.

 

 

Caroline Andrieux

Translated by David Armstrong Six and Oana Avasilichioaei

David Armstrong Six

Born in Belleville, Ontario, David Armstrong Six lives and works in Montreal. His work has been exhibited internationally since 1997, notably at the Night Gallery (Los Angeles, , 2014), at the Nikolaj Kunsthall (Copenhagen, 2013), during the Québec Triennial at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (Montréal, 2008) and at White Colums (New York, 2004). The artist also has presented his work in solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (Toronto, 2013) and at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Berlin, 2012). In 2011, he was finalist for the Prix Louis-Comtois award.