In its latest iteration, Laurent Roque’s A Room You May Have Missed invites us to step into a private house in Milan, where the nomadic and recurring spatial installation finds and occupies its third home after having taken place in London (2019) and Paris (2020).
Covered in monochrome white fabric, the interior of the house is turned into a simulation – like a photograph, flattening (or, flattering) our experience of the space. Reminiscent of a home that has been left temporarily-indefinitely, we step into what almost feels like a summer residence that awaits its owners’ return. In a spatial and temporal gesture of deliberate disorientation, the already familiar shape of the decorative wooden doors is printed on the tent-like fabric walls closing in on us, yet leading nowhere. Blue shadows are cast on the floor, yet missing their corresponding object, destabilizing our familiar/already-almost-forgotten notions of scale, perspective and time. In fact, time seems to stand still in this vortex, where different points of view overlap and intersect at every turn we take. A self-reflective space, mise en abyme (after Umberto Eco), with multiple fractal shapes and layers of narrativity. Following the opening into the garden, we briefly get a sense of where we are again; the horizon is stabilized, despite the painted projection of an abstract landscape ahead. Later, we will see this scenery again from above, our gaze reflected back into the sky. Overlapping sounds between floors, composed by Uèle Lamore through a variation of a main theme, preempt and repeat the unnerving sensation that we’ve been here before.
The repetitive character of a ritual lies at the heart of this recurring project, first initiated by Laurent Roque (artist Amalia Laurent and architect Delphine Roque) in their own house in London in 2019. Taking the third iteration of A Room You May Have Missed, for which Laurent Roque has collaborated with musician and composer Uèle Lamore, to Milan, one of the initial inspirations for the project is highlighted once again: The widespread seasonal hanging of textiles in the churches, palaces and streets of the Italian Renaissance, namely the monumental 16th century indigo cloths, painted with scenes of Christ’s Passion, that would form a temporary chapel during Holy Week inside the Benedictine Abbey Church of San Nicolo del Boschetto in Genoa. The distinctly flat monochrome character of the painted fabrics was (like other forms of abstinence imposed during the days leading up to Easter Sunday) intended to remind faithful Christians of Jesus’ suffering – lifting the veil at the end of the week and exposing the otherwise colourful and pompous interiors of the church once again.
Departing from this idea of temporary containment, a tent set up within the original architectural setting may likely evoke associations with the imagery of historical means of isolating the sick – and thus of course with the very contemporary notion of the quarantine, following the collective global experience of the last two years. Reflecting on his personal experience in domestic isolation, Paul B. Preciado refers to the temporary architectures of confinement that our homes have become as a state of “sculptural immobility”. This observation resonates with the slightly unnerving experience of the space we are finding ourselves in here, in this house in Milan. While Laurent Roque may have constructed such a state of sculptural immobility within these four walls, A Room You May Have Missed simultaneously invites us to imagine all the spaces these walls may possibly hold. In the context of the enforced domesticity we have all experienced, we are invited here to free ourselves from the daily habits that blind us to the potentials inherent to the space we call home. The room we may have missed can thus refer to a space we are longing for, but equally to a space that was there all along, we just failed to see it.
Laurent Roque is a character created by artist Amalia Laurent and architect Delphine Roque. His work is focussing on architectural installations and performances. In Laurent Roque’s fictional world, rooms are no longer defined by function but by fantasy. Separated from the veneer of function, the familiar is shown to be one of the most inexplicable places of all.
Amalia Laurent is a French artist, born in 1992. She lives and works between Paris and Nîmes, France. She studied at the Arts Décoratifs, Strasbourg and The Royal College of Art, London.
Delphine Roque is a French architect, born in 1991. She lives and works in Faugères, South of France. She studied at the Architectural School of Versailles, and has worked with GRAU in Paris, baukuh in Milan, and Fourthspace in London.
Uèle Lamore is a French-American composer, producer, conductor, and arranger based in Paris who has been invited by Laurent Roque to create an original sound piece for A Room You May Have Missed #3. She is specialised in the mixing of orchestral and acoustic textures with modular, electronic and synthetic elements. Since 2019, she is an associate conductor, orchestrator and arranger at the London Contemporary Orchestra (LCO).
Fabien Silvestre-Suzor is a photographer. He is based in Brussels where he studied at the Septantecinq. His works have been shown at the Musée Juif and at the Musée de la Photographie in Brussels. He continuously produces a series of photographs of and with each iteration of A Room You May Have Missed.
Linnéa Bake is a German-Swedish writer and curator based in Berlin, who has been invited by Laurent Roque to write the text accompanying this third iteration of A Room You May Have Missed.