Gibson / Martelli: 'Ruined'
Decay, ruin, broken and old things, bunkers and bomb-sites is an age old interest for artists. 'Ruin Lust' (from an 18th-century German compound 'Ruinenlust' ) is the
idea that age and decay brings a patina of authenticity of the ancient world and has been borrowed time and again in popular culture and videogames. Eighteenth-
Century artists and writers sought out ruined castles and picturesque landscapes, a source of visual and emotional preoccupation and a representation of the fears of
industrialisation, hinting at things to come.
In the 'Ruined’ series of images the artists used a network conditioning tool to throttle bandwidth to the Apple Maps app creating a series of images showing low-
resolution models downloaded before the final high resolution versions are displayed. The low polygon models with softened shapes and smeary, muddy textures
speak to the idea of unmaking, the high tech creating a kind of ruin. The mapping software though up to the minute, cannot keep pace with the breakneck changes
occurring in the physical world -- at some of the map sites a hole in the ground is now occupied by a building in real life and vice versa. The digital echoes an imperfect
Researching the project the artists overlaid the London Property development map with the London Bomb map. One map shows current, planned and approved large
scale development works in the city. The other shows the location of bomb damage, mapped by combing several data sets from WWII. Responding to Ben
Aaronovitch's comment in Moon Over Soho about the London County Council in the 1960’s , 'whose unofficial motto was Finishing What the Luftwaffe Started' seems
even more apt today, the artists choosing areas proximate to former bomb sites that have been earmarked for or currently are undergoing 'development'. The future is
overtaking the present as the city is built over but will eventually become, like everything, a ruin.
'So many things vanish. Yet ruins remain in the landscape, reassuring the mind that death might not be the end' - Jonathon Jones on Ruin Lust at Tate Britian.
Bruno Martelli graduated from Central St. Martins and Ruth Gibson from University of Kent at Canterbury. Their worldwide commissions include residencies in North
America, China, Australia and New Zealand and exhibitions at The Barbican Gallery, Detroit Institute for Art, and The Venice Biennale. Recent solo shows include ‘Big
Bob’ (2015) at Jaffe-Friede Gallery in Hanover, USA, ‘MAN A’ (2015) at UNION gallery, London and ‘80ºN’ (2014) at QUAD Gallery in Derby. In 2017 they have exhibited in
several group shows in London: 'Enter through the Headset' Gazelli at Art House, 'Strangelands' at Collyer Bristow, ’Splintered Binary’ at Gossamer Fog and ‘Now Play
This’ at Somerset House. Nominated for a British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) the duo are recipients of several awards: a Henry Moore Foundation New
Commission, a National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA) Award and in 2015 they won the Lumen Gold Prize. Gibson is the Creative Fellow at
Centre for Dance Research at Coventry University. The artists live and work in London.
Up and coming shows include 'This Is Where We Came In' at Angus Hughes Gallery opening 21 April
Gibson / Martelli: www.gibsonmartelli.com