The Morus serrator Project (2013-2015)
Exhibition: Gilberd Marriott Gallery, 10th July-4th August 2015.
The design and construction process of the maquette has required extensive study of both anatomy textbooks and mounted skeletons; determining the correct sequence and orientation of the vertebrae was particularly tricky. Once three- view drawings of every bone were made to get a feel for dimensions and forms, each was replicated in card. Construction of an unarticulated prototype was followed by two further articulated examples. All of the design and fabrication has been done by hand.
The design objectives, were, within the limits of the materials and methods, to evoke the presence of the living animal, and to at least point towards the complexity of the forms thrown up by Nature’s inscrutable Will.
The final stage of the project will be the production of a book of plans and assembly instructions, to allow for the construction of the maquette by others, in the manner of the performance of a piece of music.
Geoffrey Roche - Artist information
Roche’s artistic practice explores themes first discussed in his MA thesis, The Motorcycle in the Art Gallery: Industrial Design and Art, being a critique of the contemporary Western dichotomy between technology and art (Roche 1997, amended 2008). In this text Roche notes the way in which engineers and inventors frequently operate in very artist- like ways, and have been inspired across history by naturally occurring forms, such as those of fish and birds.
Roche continues this line of inquiry through interpreting and modeling zoological anatomies in a rigorously methodological way, in an attempt to reverse- engineer them into forms that could be scaled or replicated, but also just to better understand them. The resulting assemblages are not so much artworks for their own sake as outputs of an ongoing investigation; works of techné that stand outside the art/technology divide.
Roche also writes on philosophical subjects, and has had book chapters and papers published in France, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. He is currently researching the hallucinatory impact of ergot intoxication on the work of the early Renaissance painters Matthias Grünewald (c.1470/80-1528) and Hieronymus Bosch (c.1450-1516). Roche has lived in France, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, and currently lives in Wellington.
Geoffrey Roche The Motorcycle in the Art Gallery. MA Thesis 1997.