In Meiro Koizumi's three-channel video installation, The Angels of Testimony (2019), the central frame features an interview with Hajime Kondo about his time as a solider of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The conversation centres on war crimes perpetrated in China, including the beheading of Chinese prisoners for...
Diana Campbell Betancourt is a curator working predominantly across South and Southeast Asia. Since 2013 she has been the founding artistic director of the Samdani Art Foundation and chief curator of the Dhaka Art Summit in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a transnational art event that has grown in size and scale ever since its first edition in 2012. Backed by...
China, home to 802 million internet users, is subject to sophisticated online censorship. This shrouded state of affairs, unsurprisingly perhaps, serves to reinforce stereotypes around conformity elsewhere. Any realm, digital or otherwise, subject to such strict scrutiny must necessarily be bland and uncritical, right? I was mulling over such...
Parafin presents a visual dialogue between artists Tim Head (British, born 1946) and Indre Serpytyte (Lithuanian, born 1983). The two bodies of work presented here address distinct concerns and are realised in radically different media yet are connected by formal qualities; abstraction, pattern, repetition and colour are defining characteristics for both groups of work.
Since the 1990s Tim Head has developed an innovative body of work focused on an exploration of digital space. Using projections, LCD displays and inkjet prints, Head's works attempt to articulate 'the digital medium's elusive material substance'. The Black Light series of large format unique prints fabricates fictitious structures within the virtual space of the digital using overlapping circles of translucent colour. Rendered as physical realities, these coloured structures produce a strong sense of pictorial depth. Yet depth is an illusion: on the screen the computer reduces infinite complexity to a single layer of pixels, just the printer expresses it as a single layer of ink. As with all Head's work, questions of perception and reality are foregrounded.
Indre Serpytyte is known primarily for her work with photography, but also employs archives, sculpture, film, audio and choreography, to explore issues of history and trauma. Much of her work has addressed the recent past of Lithuania, in particular the so-called 'war after the war'. In the ongoing series From.Between.To, Serpytyte uses traditional woven sashes or juosta from across the Baltic States. The sashes are used to mark important life events and the patterns on them depict archetypal symbols such as sun and stars or flowers. They are freighted with meaning but here used only according to their formal qualities. The repetitive act of making these patterns consolidates a language of meaning and a common space of understanding, but is also part of an activity of creative agency for individuals and communities. The series positions these ritual sashes as sites of memory and identity formation, yet also considers them as purely visual objects.
Considered together, Head and Serpytyte's work, offers a chromatically charged visual dialogue, contrasting old and new technologies, and tactile materiality with the weightlessness of the virtual.
Tim Head has exhibited internationally since the early 1970s. He first came to prominence with a series of ground-breaking installations at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (1972), the Whitechapel Art Gallery (1974) and participation in important group shows incuding the 8th Paris Biennale, Musee D'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1973), Arte Inglese Oggi, Palazzo Reale, Milan (1976) and Documenta 6, Kassel (1977). He represented Great Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1980. Head's work is in important international collections including Tate, British Museum and V&A, London, the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York and the Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon.
Indrė Šerpytytė was born in Lithuania in 1983. She studied at the University of Brighton and the Royal College of Art, London. Serpytyte's work has been exhibited internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include CAC, Vilniue (2017), Parafin, London (2016), Still House Group, New York (2016) and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Krakow (2015). Important recent group exhibitions include the Riga Biennial (2018), Age of Terror, Imperial War Museum, London (2017), Ocean of Images: New Photography 2015 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2015) and Conflict, Time, Photography at Tate Modern, London, and the Museum Folkwang, Essen (2014-15)
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