The Spots That Never Went

 

 

The Spots That Never Went by Roelof Bakker, is a personal reflection on the devastation of the AIDS pandemic in 1980s-90s London, and the lasting impact on a generation.  Originally an artist’s book in which abstract images face short sentences such as “I remember a time when the police raided bars and clubs wearing decontamination suits and gloves,” the work has now evolved into a larger exhibition.

Bakker is interested in storytelling, using image and text and experiments with copy printing, photographic processes, writing, hand and laser cutting, artist’s books and performance.  Here and in the book, enlarged sections of a Spectra Polaroid photograph, converted to a mono halftone image, express distant, fragmented memories and forgotten history.

Originally developed at the end of the apple season, aspects of the work also respond to paintings by former Brixton resident and fellow Dutchman Vincent van Gogh.  Linking pandemics across time, additional work was developed during a lockdown residency at The Queer Hut, a desolate wooden structure on a disused railway embankment overlooking Cambridgeshire fields.

Originally from the Netherlands, Roelof Bakker is a Cambridge based artist who graduated in 2019 with an MA Fine Art from Cambridge School of Art.  His MA show was awarded the 2019 Cambridge Artworks Residency.  Bakker founded Negative Press in 2012, the books are in international collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York: Wellcome Foundation, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Artists’ Book Collection, Bavarian State Library, Munich, Germany.

Bakker’s projects address issues relating to history, memory, health, queerness, identity and the environment.  Playing with form and format, he works across photography, writing, artists’ books, publishing, print, video and performance.