Lisa Roet | In-Sight

17.06.09 to 11.07.09


Lisa Roet’s exhibition, In-Sight comprises two suites of neon LED light works in juxtaposition with sculptures of orangutans, a gorilla, a chimpanzee and a human face. Alluding to relations between humans and simians, the exhibition engages with the broader issue of mans relationship with the urban and natural environment.


In the series of four Target works, the faces of a human, a chimp, a gorilla and an orang-utan are centred inside the glowing yellow of a marksman’s target. The targets, which enlarge in scale, are representative of the degree of threat to the varying species. The glowing eyes of each of the Primates invite the view to look into the still faces of these creatures, while the largely unthreatened human remains aloof with eyes closed.


In the other series the head of a orang-utan is set against a backdrop of vibrant L.E.D lights, flashing red, green, yellow and pink. The swirling symbols are suggestive of barbed wire, but also a female tattoo used by the Diak women, representing regeneration, rebirth and life. The floating white faces have a serenity against the cross bones, which are reminiscent of brash shopping strip advertising and act as a poignant reminder of the commercial uses of the jungle and its resources.


The exhibition also includes a freestanding bronze sculpture called ‘The Scout’. Based on the near extinct Hosei monkey, the scout goes out before his troupe to survey the forest canopy, ensuring it is safe for further travels. Set against the slow progress of a storm in the Borneo jungle he is startled by this human encounter, and the viewer is afforded a rare glimpse at a virtually undocumented species.


This exhibition is drawn from Lisa’s travels over the last 18 years, in particular to an area in Borneo where she has worked with primatologists in documenting the Primates from his region. Roet’s continued interest and exploration of the relations between humans and primates challenges some of the great paradigms and theories relating to evolution and creationism. This exhibition coincides with the 150th birthday of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and his subsequent book titled ‘The Origin of Species’, imbuing new perspectives regarding Darwin’s studies.