After the Fall
Awarded 2019 Cambridge Artworks Residency

Roelof Bakker, After the Fall, Cambridge, Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University, Ruskin Gallery, Winner 2019 Cambridge Artworks Residency Award, severe head injury

Exhibition overview, Ruskin Gallery, September 2019

Roelof Bakker, After the Fall, Cambridge, Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University, Ruskin Gallery, Winner 2019 Cambridge Artworks Residency Award, severe head injury, Cambridge Botanic Garden

‘Garden of Healing’, Xerox print, double-sided canvas, rubber bands

Roelof Bakker, After the Fall, Cambridge, Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University, Ruskin Gallery, Winner 2019 Cambridge Artworks Residency Award, severe head injury

From left: (on floor) ‘Last Thing I See’, print on ceramic tile, rubber bands; ‘Green Man’ and ‘Narcissus’, double-sided stereograph on antique stereoscope with customised stand; ‘Garden of Healing’, Xerox print, double-sided canvas, rubber bands; ‘Monument’, giclée print, rubber bands

Roelof Bakker, After the Fall, Cambridge, Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University, Ruskin Gallery, Winner 2019 Cambridge Artworks Residency Award, severe head injury

‘Monument’, giclée print

Roelof Bakker, After the Fall, Cambridge, Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University, Ruskin Gallery, Winner 2019 Cambridge Artworks Residency Award, severe head injury

‘Last Thing I See’, print on ceramic tile, rubber bands

Roelof Bakker, After the Fall, Cambridge, Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University, Ruskin Gallery, Winner 2019 Cambridge Artworks Residency Award, severe head injury

‘Not Knowing You, Not Knowing Me’, 2A0 Xerox print, nails, rubber bands

‘China Doll White’, rehearsal of performance at Ruskin Gallery, 30 July 2019 (HD video, 2020, colour, sound, 3.33 min.)

 

After the Fall is a multi-layered inter-disciplinary body of work responding to the aftermath of two unconnected accidents both involving head injuries. The work explores ideas around mortality, memory loss, recovery and remembrance, using photography, performance, printmaking, bookmaking, writing and video, while connecting three individuals and locations across space and time. This Ruskin Gallery exhibition (MA Fine Art 2019, Cambridge School of Art) was awarded the 2019 Cambridge Artworks Residency.

After the Fall was developed by responding to ‘China Doll White’, a text written by Bakker in 2016 describing the scene of a woman cyclist involved in an accident, lying on a London street, unconscious. The final sentence was an instruction Bakker did not act upon, ‘I must remember to buy a bicyle helmet’. These words connect the text to a bicycle accident Bakker experienced two years later in Cambridge while studying, when he suffered a severe head injury.

A phone snap taken in hospital whilst experiencing memory loss, was submitted to both digital and physical processes to create a series of self-portraits expressing personal horror collated in an artist’s book and a 2A0 advertising-size mono Xerox print with nails hammered into it (‘Not Knowing You, Not Knowing Me’). One original is used to create a multitude of copies, with process widening the distance between copy and original until copies become originals in their own right.

Testing his memory by learning ‘China Doll White’ by heart, leads to exploring the dynamics of performance, reciting the words with eyes closed, copying the body position of the cyclist described. Two daily performances take place during the exhibition, the temporary physical, sculptural presence of the artist changing the dynamics of the space, as he makes himself vulnerable– lying down, horizontally on the hard surface, while the vertical bodies of visitors come and go.

In Amsterdam, Bakker discovers a Nationaal Monument for 19th century Dutch society portrait painter Therese Schwartze, made by her sister sculptor Georgine Schwartze. This monument echoes the body position of the London cyclist and therefore the body position in the performance. A black and white photographic portrait of the work becomes a monument to the London cyclist (‘Monument’).

A work on canvas of a photograph taken at Cambridge Botanic Garden (‘Garden of Healing’), and a double-sided stereoview with customised stand (‘Narcissus’ and ‘Green Man’), explore ideas around healing. In these works, broken, knotted rubber bands expose physical signs of damage and repair. The bands also create cohesion between other artifacts in the exhibition, with individual works reaching out to other works or to spaces beyond its boundaries, looking for new beginnings and connections.

The artist’s book ‘Not Knowing You, Not Knowing Me’, was selected for Salon 19, Photofusion London’s annual members’ show (6 December 2019 to 23 January 2020).

‘China Doll White’, performance, Ruskin Gallery, 5 September 2019

Roelof Bakker, Not Knowing You, Not Knowing Me, Photofusion, London, artist’s book

‘Not Knowing You, Not Knowing Me’, artist’s book, rubber bands