Rebecca Ackroyd’s 100mph

Text by Molly Cranston

Rebecca Ackroyd’s second solo exhibition at Peres Projects, 100mph, delves deeper into her personal dream psyche. Acrkoyd establishes her narrative of random association-  feminine forms and sanitized drain covers sit next to one another in discord but interact, poetically, sinisterly, to create a sensual and unsettling landscape. A large spider spins a web around Ackroyd’s sleeping head as she “[sets] together conflicting momentums of extended and suspended time – the mind racing but going nowhere”

Hair, a recurring theme in Ackroyd’s work, creates structural networks across the canvases. “Hair tells stories. Like rings on a tree, it records our personal histories as the physical embodiment of time.” The fibres unite, woven almost, and move with a sense of life and urgency rather than appearing as hapless or abject strands. In ‘Lipstick enthusiast’, hair is not stuck limply at the lip of the plughole, it swoops above like an impossible wing. 

Everything alludes to dripping and spilling, but never quite gets there: eyelashes close thickly like they’re about to cry, drains and plughole gleam, waiting to receive a water flow, blood-like channels and taught skin threaten to fall out the frame. The liquid, oozing quality of the paintings are barely held together by laddered stockings, fishnets, and faint spiderwebs. The body is zoomed in on, and fragmented uncomfortably, even in Ackroyd’s sculptural works, but there is a sense of satisfaction in the detail and repetition of the compositions. 

Ackroyd uses translucent panels, dust sheets and scaffolding to obscure the windows of the gallery space and bring the walls closer so that the show feels distinctively interior and transitional. She effectively isolates the viewer and the works, allowing for private encounters, yet simultaneously enforcing a glaring and antiseptic environment that seems to provide a dystopian context to ominous ‘2020’s that float around the show. 100mph is currently on view at Peres Projects.

In all my fear or glory, 2020
Drawing – Gouache, soft pastel on Somerset satin paper 37 x 44 cm (15 x 17 in)

Lipstick enthusiast, 2020
Drawing – Gouache, soft pastel on Somerset satin paper 35 x 28 cm (14 x 11 in)

Garden tender, 2020
Drawing – Gouache, soft pastel on Somerset satin paper 184 x 133 cm (72 x 53 in)

Images Courtesy of Peres Projects, Berlin
Photographed by: Matthias Kolb