On a monitor a white area can be seen which first turns blue, then green and then red. The image brings to mind colour-field painting; at the same time, the combination of primary colours corresponds to the chromatic setup of the image reproduction in video and computer technologies. The image is accompanied by a rippling, plinking sound that occurs whenever the colour changes and thus prompts the realisation that the monitor is acting like a glass of water in which a brush is stirred back and forth, releasing the colour pigments one after the other. ‘Water’ + ‘colour’ = Watercolour – as is often the case in Ceal Floyer’s work, the image and the title are directly linked. Floyer often subtly and with subliminal humour alienates the familiar uses of everyday objects, creating a tension between the visible and the invisible. Thus, using a bare minimum of materials, a multi-layered work is born
As with Peel, Floyer’s large-scale projection piece, Projection also requires a second glance to grasp what is actually being depicted. At first, it seems as if a nail hammered into the wall is being illuminated by the light field of the slide projector placed in front of it. A closer look reveals that this is not a real hanging device from which a picture could be suspended; instead, an image of a nail is being projected. The nail, which would otherwise remain in the background, is brought into the light here as the actual subject of the work. Once again playing with our perceptions – as well as with the ambiguity of the term selected as the title – the artist exposes the way in which we view the world: what we see is often only our assumption of what something looks like, and not what is actually before our eyes. By deploying the technique of slide projection, Floyer’s work Projection also preserves a once-common, now obsolete medium as a relic of a bygone technological age.