This was the first major exhibition by Perry Roberts in the UK for over ten years. It consisted entirely of new work, commissioned by Ikon, made in response to the architecture in Birmingham. Marking a significant development in his practice, until now involving mostly painting, wall drawing and interior design, Roberts presented a series of videos that dwell on the themes that informed his previous work.
Throughout the UK, architecture surviving from the 1960s and 70s has an ambivalent status – frequently despised and often with its future in question – poised somewhere between a state of decline and regeneration. Such buildings are the focus of Roberts’ aesthetic enquiry, raising questions concerning our experience of the built environment, reflecting and shaping the nature of everyday life.
The buildings that featured in this exhibition have gridded, abstract textures due to the nature of their prefabricated construction. Using digital time-lapse photography, Roberts recorded the passage of sunlight over their external surfaces – various facades and elevations – highlights and shadows shifting around the patterns of this local urban fabric. Roberts is reminding us of the fact that time passes – that, in fact, everything on Earth is a sundial – that lives are lived through and around these places, and our apprehension of the familiar is determined by particular circumstances.