Hugo Michell Gallery is thrilled to present a solo exhibition by James Darling and Lesley Forwood; Living Rocks: A Fragment of the Universe. Darling and Forwood are conceptual artists who make strong social, political and environmental statements through unique site-specific mallee root installations. Living Rocks is a bold departure and a fundamentally ambitious project, achieved in collaboration with Jumpgate VR and the Australian String Quartet.
On a trip to the Limestone Coast, an ecologist informed Darling and Forwood they would find thrombolites; rare rock-like microbial structures which, when emerged from beneath water, photosynthesize.
Thrombolites and stromatolites are both microbialites whose structures colonise lake floors and which, over billions of years, supplied the first large quantities of oxygen to the atmosphere of our planet.
Darling and Forwood have responded to the extraordinary natural structures with an expansive and evolutionary installation, which includes flooding two thirds of the seventeen-metre long gallery. Jumpgate VR, has generated a landscape spanning 3 billion years. Living Rocks will also feature an original score composed by Paul Stanhope which has just been recorded by the Australian String Quartet at UKARIA Cultural Centre.
"Living Rocks celebrates the physical presence of thrombolites. It celebrates microbial life. Looking back and looking forward, the concept of microbialites as the ‘disaster-recovery’ or default ecosystem of our planet, and perhaps of many others, speaks of genesis and genius.”
- James Darling
Living Rocks: A Fragment of the Universe is a seminal installation extending Darling and Forwood’s simple and strong minimalist tradition.
The exhibition inhabits terrain on the edge of conception, where imagination, science and art co-exist.