An Opera for Animals was first staged at Para Site in Hong Kong between 23 March and 2 June 2019, with works by over 48 artists and collectives that use opera as a metaphor for modes of contemporary, cross-disciplinary art-making. The exhibition's second iteration takes up a large portion of the Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) in Shanghai (22 June–25...
Moving across installation, painting, drawing, and writing, Malaysia-born and London-based artist Mandy El-Sayegh explores the political, social, and economic complexities of humanity, using a mosaic of information—from advertising slogans and pornographic imagery to newspaper articles—that she subjects to processes of layering,...
Get Up Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers at Somerset House in London (12 June–15 September 2019) surveys more than half a century of black creativity in Britain and beyond across the fields of art, film, photography, music, design, fashion, and literature.Curated by Zak Ové, works by approximately 100 intergenerational black...
'The state of things'
Johan makes things. He writes things out of paper. It all begins with an empty page.
If you want to write, you have to be able to fold. Things subsequently fall out of the folds, which is how they become words. Johan folds words out of material letters and reassembles them, so that they say something.
Not spoken words and texts, but visual texts, which are far more pliant. Not to mention friendlier, as well as more beautiful and generous. Because there's always an issue with those spoken words. Used and abused on a massive scale, they are employed to attack and deceive. Restoring their softness and refutability is a huge endeavour, rebuttal work, a waste of time.
Johan's texts look broken, which feels reassuring. They are also very hard. Layer upon layer of resins and secret powders. And continual sanding! To become self-portraits, dented bags. Boxes, tubes, and finally big things and little things, cones and pyramids and balls and spheres, sometimes with handles and bulges, overflowing layers, just to be sure there's enough!
Comforting stash. Take another one. The entire reserves of art history are online. The beauty of yesteryear is undiminished and is still understood. Only the world is a bit more dented now, although Claus Sluter's Pleurantsare as sovereign and exalted as ever in their acceptance and sorrow.
Submission in the past, anger today, fury and sorrow at stupidity and for fleeing in ignorance. Giant stocks of this have also accumulated, and little has changed since Goya. Time is running out, which drives eternity crazy. There are no more still lifes, not like there used to be.
 There are exceptions.
 Nothing mysterious, it depends on the production process.
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