Bell developed a poetic dialogue between his elements, finding metaphors for these tender human concerns. Evolving gradually both through intellectual thought processes and through practical issues of material and formal considerations, he reaches out for that state between sense and reason which we inhabit in everyday moments - like walking down the street.
Roddy Bell creates works who’s strength is in its fragile tenderness. Sounds, text, projections, drawings, and objects add subtle nuances to kitchen whiteware and blend mythology to IKEA lamps. In his own words, his interest is “in developing a poetic dialogue between the elements, and finding metaphors for these areas, mostly metaphysical, which have always concerned me.”
There are melting frozen sand figures, there are soft whispers, smoke clouds, projections on hanging cloth - all trancient elements given a limited time, and a space somewhere between process and installation. His installations gives the audience a space to walk around or in, a narrative in which to stay. In a review of Bell’s exhibition “Luminary” (Gallery 21, Malmö, 2001) Jelena Zetterström describes entering the exhibition as finding herself “in the midst of some kind of séance”. The metaphysical aspect is readily admitted, as included elements we can count angels, references from christian mythology and folklore, and death is represented by memorial songs for dead soldiers. Maybe less metaphysical but still with a wide resonance are the usage of fragments from the widely popular film “The Sound of Music” and and clumsily assembled IKEA items. Hiding nothing, projectors, webcams, freezers, smoke machines, fans lay bare, and Bell’s own drawings with this de- and re-contextualized objects combining his fragile executions with - possibly equally fragile - everyday technology.
Roddy Bell was born in Burma in 1951 as a British citizen and has been living in Norway since 1977. He has education from the Colchester School of Art, the Edinburgh College of Art and Goldsmiths College in London. He has exhibited in Germany, Hong Kong, Britain, Denmark, Italy, France, Russia, Slovenia and Norway. His latest solo exhibition was “The Whispering Room”, at Trans-art, Trondheim in 2002.