About the exhibition

In Ryan Durrant’s exhibition Black Bag at the Market Gallery for Temporary Contemporary, the artist conceptually extended the idea of repetition. Durrant produced iconographic multimedia images and sculptures of black bin liners taut with unseen contents. The result was a reminder of the repetition and reproduction of our own constant production of waste. A process of filling the bag and forgetting about it that happens again and again with devastating ecological consequences. 

The exhibition was accompanied by a reflective text by Dr Jill Townsley, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Art, University of Huddersfield. Below is an extract from that text.

In the 21st century scattered across any part of the earth, inhabited by the human race, you may find black bags. Made from plastic, they, most usually, hold 75 litres of waste material. The bags are manufactured in innumerable replications. They are generally used to dispose of the unwanted, under utilised or disused things that have been evolved to support human life. In dense repetition the energy held in the Black Bags holds the power to threaten the ecosystem of the earth, and consequentially make extinct many of the life forms that depend on it.

Dr Jill Townsley

Senior Lecturer Contemporary Art

University of Huddersfield

About the researcher

Ryan Durrant studied at University of Newcastle and West Surrey College of Art and Design. He was based at Bow Arts Trust, London, an organisation whose mission is to support community renewal across London by delivering arts and creative services through a financially sustainable social enterprise model. 

Durrant often works with repetition. This could be painting two or four of the same painting with the same quality of thick brush strokes, same image, same colour palette, but more than one ‘original’ work produced. About his work, he writes:

Whilst similarities may satisfy a need for order, and offer an overall picture; they lead to generalisation and gross misunderstanding. On closer observation, differences emerge and such limitations are ultimately challenged. The individual reasserts itself and underlines the unique qualities of existence and experience.

Durrant is currently an Art Technician in the School of Art, Design and Architecture and undertaking an MA by Research in art practice. More of his outputs can be seen here.