Monday 8 February – Sunday 21 February
A motley queue of individuals are seeking salvation. They are people in limbo – whose personal circumstances or economic situations have suddenly been re-evaluated and whose future status now seems conditional on a test they need to pass. Their fate will be decided, they learn, by an unseen official whose disembodied voice reverberates through the room in which they are patiently waiting.
Whitby’s contemporary parable takes aim at the collateral effects of Brexit, and the narrowing horizons of a country where people’s right to remain is increasingly rebuffed or derided and where unwelcome ‘outsiders’ are told to expect to face a so-called ‘hostile environment’.
Combining caustic satire with eccentric, absurdist humour, Whitby’s video is a mordant snapshot of the mood of Britain at a moment of extraordinary upheaval – inflamed, on the one side, by a populist rhetoric about lost identity or a romantic pursuit of lost illusions, but shadowed, on the other side, by an uncomfortable feeling that the country might very easily be losing the plot.
Richard Whitby (b. Liverpool 1984) makes videos and performances, and writes. He studied at Wimbledon College of Art and the Slade and took part in the LUX Associate Artists Programme in 2012/13. His exhibitions include Focal Point Gallery, Southend (2013) and Bluecoat, Liverpool (2014), with residencies at CCA Glasgow and Seoul Museum of Art (2015). His book The Jump Room was published in 2018.
Film: Richard Whitby, The Lost Ones, 2019. Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella. Courtesy of Richard Whitby.