Lloyd Corporation, Surface Incidents II, 2011, mixed media, 77 1/2 x 70 7/8 x 63".

Lloyd Corporation, Surface Incidents II, 2011, mixed media, 77 1/2 x 70 7/8 x 63".

Lloyd Corporation

Lloyd Corporation, Surface Incidents II, 2011, mixed media, 77 1/2 x 70 7/8 x 63".

Ali Eisa and Sebastian Lloyd Rees, working collaboratively as Lloyd Corporation, inaugurated Carlos/Ishikawa’s new space with a show of works that have grown out of, and offer an oblique take on, the febrile indeterminacies of the present economic situation. Presiding over the show through several of the works’ titles was the spirit of the Roman god Janus. Guardian of the gateway, looking both forward and backward, the deity offers a symbolic link between the distant past, in which an empire was born, and a future cobbled from its rubble.

Titled “Connect. Conjugate. Continue,” the exhibition orchestrated its own rubble of flooring samples, concrete casts, distressed aluminum screening, hardwoods, MDF, plastic containers, found imagery, and other elements in such a way as to evoke their individual provenance and potential use without in any way implying a preferred interpretation. Surface Incidents I (all works 2011) is a cylindrical plastic container—a beer-line cleaner for use in a pub or bar—standing next to a rectangular wooden screen smeared with a mixture of epoxy resin and green-screen paint. It all sits on a square flooring unit framed in meranti hardwood. There’s writing on the container—the usual directions for use, health warnings, and so on—but it’s just close enough to the screen that you can’t read it easily. It seems either very important or not important at all or maybe both; maybe the container’s green base, which is almost, but not quite, the same shade as the green-screen paint, is the important thing. Leisure meets the technology of illusion, by means of which we can be projected into any putative elsewhere. We see this, too, in the promotional video playing on the Bang & Olufsen TV in the installation Interior Music, in which scenes of wondrous precision manufacturing mix with the inevitable shots of inspiring nature.

One of the several works that name Janus in their titles is the photographic diptych Janus (Power Form/Living Form). The parenthetical subtitle is a loose reference to Umberto Boccioni’s writing on Futurism. In one image a broker sits exhausted amid the detritus of a heavy day on the trading floor. He holds a bottle of water and wears one of those wristbands that signal attachment to some charitable cause: packaged life, packaged feeling. The other image shows a display of office furniture in an IKEA warehouse space in China: polyglot cultures, monoglot consumption patterns. Both images are printed onto Dibond, the support surface of advertisements and shop signs. In between the two photographs, settled into the angle between floor and wall, is Untitled, a large beanbag sewn together from World Food Programme grain sacks.

Water is everywhere in the works, as both necessity and ultimate commodity. Jute sandbags nestle among the accumulation of bottles, containers, concrete casts, and a black steel drum gathered into the suspended cargo net of Strata of Accumulation: too much water and not enough. There are two fragments of casts of a plastic water container in the wall work Janus (280 BC–2090 AD)—one rendered in terra-cotta mixed with iron filings, as if the aim were to fake up contemporary rubbish as a future archaeological find. The dates suggest the span of coinage, from the time of its first appearance in Greece to the imagined point of its obsolescence. This life span, along with the fate of other monuments of empire, is considered at length in a handout text, “The Logic of Ruin Value,” printed in tabloid format on pink Financial Times newsprint. There are no answers there, either.

Michael Archer