Roland Darjes // Germany
Roland Darjes is a German artist based in Shanghai. Working out of a studio in the M50 art district on Moganshan Lu, Darjes creates sculptures and installations that explore new media in physical manifestations, particularly those that produce light. On the other end, he also pursues photography. The child of a German actress and an American opera director, he has studied art in both Germany and the United States. Darjes’ art brings represents his idiosyncratic understanding of 21st century China urban redefinition in the pursuit of an idealized projection. As cities refurbish to optimize their perceived relevance, they pay tribute to a stylized notion of future that rolls into visual culture. From mirages and fascinations down to tools and protocols, he finds seemingly constant illusion and wayward projection – the leftovers of a hungry dash forward. It’s surprising that he isn’t just constantly nauseous. Darjes’ sculptures and images produce bodily, physical presence from planar, two-dimensional projection. The statues create depth from LED and neon lighting. The images take form out of shadows, profiles, silhouettes, the overlay of contrastive imagines (in terms of exposure and otherwise), cardboard cut-outs of old men, photography, and the interaction of an image and its surface. The product is both tactile and body-less. His perspective is broad and, with the environment, clingy. His installations are intimate and his photography is excursive. Darjes’ occasional forays into video are ecstatically transcendent, but only in the most distant sense - like seeing a ghost in your photograph. At this point, it is still very likely that he believes in ghosts or, barring that, will admit to some sort of “spectral presence.” The production of his work splits between in-gallery and outbound, coming together in one portfolio stretching from the bedroom to the sidewalk.