Tom Borgas: Barriers IRL


A collection of full-scale concrete barriers, painted in Yves Klein’s trademark blue, rest in an untidy pile on a gallery floor. Nearby, a video plays on a loop, displaying the blue barriers as they drift in the perpetual free fall of a virtual space. It’s a scene that speaks to the strange and uncertain divides between images and objects in our digital world. It’s also the scene that first greets visitors when they encounter Tom Borgas’s Barriers IRL.

Showing at FELTspace, the exhibition looks at how we experience both the separation and the convergence between images (the digital) and objects (so-called real life). “I’m interested in how media technology has shaped our perception,” explains Borgas. “Unless it fails, media generally has a transparency and I’m intrigued with the origins and the politics of that.”

By prompting viewers to navigate both the physical space of the fallen barriers, and the digital space of the falling barriers, Borgas is absorbed by the unsettling oscillation between the two.

“I like the idea that image and object are coextensive and I’m interested in the specificities of media and their generative potentials. And there’s a consciousness about articulating both individually,” says the artist.

Within this sits Borgas’s dry humour, shown through his references to minimalism, ready-mades and Yves Klein, as well as the creation of a work that ultimately fails to resolve. As Borgas says, “I once read that a joke involves a momentary destabilisation of self. I think this is a great way of describing what art should be.”

Barriers IRL
Tom Borgas
7 June – 23 June

Preview Words by Tiarney Miekus