Ryan Decker: Feudal Relief
Suggested Ages: All, Adult Friendly
Enter a dungeon-cum-domestic diorama, full of furniture, lighting and objects influenced by a mix of medieval motifs and computer-generated aesthetics by artist Ryan Decker
“Who’s ever heard of a
Visitors to Feudal Relief will find themselves transported to
Visit a version of 14th century Europe covered in digital renderings, giving the appearance of a stone-walled room, with a carved and airbrushed wood throne, embellished with cast-bronze critters. floor lamp in the shape of a thorny vine holding up a stone sarcophagus?”
To further blend the real and the virtual, the physical works are accompanied by a video titled A Sedentary Pilgrimage as well as a sound piece by Robovine, a multimedia music and art project comprising Decker and musician Nikolaus Hendry.
Decker was inspired by the ghoulish carvings of Gothic churches and the imaginative drawings in the margins of illuminated manuscripts. Depictions of human-eating demons, anus-showing jesters and snail-riding knights contrasted with the religious contexts in which they were found, highlighting the need then, as now, to cope with oppressive forms of authority. Through these playful and at times challenging works, Decker seeks to shed light on the notion that we are living in a neofeudalist age. In Medieval Europe, feudal relief was a one-off tax payment each generation of tenant paid to a lord in order to remain on the land. It has been equated with an inheritance tax but it essentially perpetuated the political and economic inequality present at the time. For Decker, the term is a triple entendre: relief from a loss of hope through humor and absurdity, the spiritual relief one might feel upon returning to a sacred home after a day’s drudgery, and the literal reliefs present in the works on view.
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