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Jess Johnson: Worlds Within Worlds Ocula Conversation Jess Johnson: Worlds Within Worlds

Geometric patterns, anthropomorphic characters, architectural spatial environments, and relics of the ancient world appear throughout Jess Johnson's artworks.Johnson's solo art-ventures began in drawing, but her long-term collaborative relationship with animator Simon Ward brings her drawings to life in videos and virtual reality. The animator has...

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Melati Suryodarmo: Performance Art as Trigger Ocula Conversation Melati Suryodarmo: Performance Art as Trigger

In 2012, Melati Suryodarmo opened Studio Plesungan in her native Surakarta, also known as Solo, the historic royal capital of the Mataram Empire of Java in Indonesia. Suryodarmo had returned to Indonesia from Germany, where she studied Butoh and choreography with Butoh dancer and choreographer Anzu Furukawa, time-based media with avantgarde...

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Lagos Biennial 2019: Stories from Africa’s most Populous City Ocula Report Lagos Biennial 2019: Stories from Africa’s most Populous City 15 Nov 2019 : Jareh Das for Ocula

Under the direction of Folakunle Oshun, the second edition of the Lagos Biennial (26 October–23 November 2019) includes works by over 40 Lagos-based and international artists, architects, and collectives. Curated by architect Tosin Oshinowo, curator and producer Oyindamola Fakeye, and assistant curator of photography at the Art Institute of...

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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight | Video
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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough 15 October 2019

Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...

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Benrei Huang

b. 1959, Taiwan

Benrei Huang creates whimsical wood prints, sculptures and acrylic paintings, using the recurring motif of a rabbit-like figure she calls 'Nini' to explore a diverse range of issues such as grief or loneliness, existential angst and environmental degradation.

Huang first began using 'Nini' in 2008 when she rediscovered her love of painting while working as a children's book illustrator. Originally from her sketchbook, the rabbit character soon evolved into the main protagonist of Huang's two-dimensional and three-dimensional projects. On her website, the artist reflects that 'In retrospect, this accidental intruder in my life has transformed into something that lead me on for an extra mile. It has more or less become my keeper on the road of exploration.'

Despite being the driving force behind the development of Huang's practice, Rabbit Nini himself has remained mostly unchanged over the years, displaying few outward emotions in many artworks. Resembling an innocent child, he may at times appear calm—as in 9–5 syndrome (2012), in which he sits still on a wooden shelf, watching the clock pass the time—or perhaps forlorn—as in Closed until you behaved (2015), where he stands patiently with friends in front of a shut garden gate—or, at most, slightly confused—as in Other people's life (2015), which shows Nini observing fellow rabbits as they run up a staircase behind him. Playing the passive spectator with such a humble attitude, however, allows Nini to act as a vessel for the imagination of the audience. He is a quiet, recurring form that encourages viewers to project their own life experiences, emotions, and reflections onto the character itself and into the situation depicted, taking what they will from the tale that Huang illustrates.

Humour, as well as an underlying sense of optimism, appears to play an essential part in Huang's work. This is evidenced in the acrylic painting I used to love spring, now I have allergy (2010): Nini's head is a fuzzy white form with leaves as eyes and a flower stem as his nose, suffocated by a hazy meadow of pollen-filled blooms. A touch of humour also allows Huang to make sorrowful themes palatable, such as climate change in Rescue mission 101—in dark water (2008), in which Nini rescues a dead fish from a sea of fish casualties, or isolation in I'll be your shadow when you're lonely (2011), which depicts multiple Nini figures—some white, some black—pairing up on a chess board.

Despite Huang's pastel colour palette and rounded, cartoonish forms, her paintings are far from naïve. Instead, they present a nuanced view of the often stark realities of living in a complicated, grown-up world and the moral lessons that come with each experience.

Benrei Huang works and lives in New York.

Biography by Genista Jurgens | Ocula | 2018
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Featured Artworks

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Flower babies 花之寶 by Benrei Huang contemporary artwork
Benrei HuangFlower babies 花之寶, 2018 Acrylic on canvas
76 x 76 cm
Eslite Gallery
Stage fright 紙老虎 by Benrei Huang contemporary artwork
Benrei HuangStage fright 紙老虎, 2018 Acrylic on canvas
71 x 61 cm
Eslite Gallery
Rainy day Myth 雨天的神話 by Benrei Huang contemporary artwork
Benrei HuangRainy day Myth 雨天的神話, 2018 Acrylic on canvas
101 x 76 cm
Eslite Gallery
A sudden touch 花之吻 by Benrei Huang contemporary artwork
Benrei HuangA sudden touch 花之吻, 2018 Acrylic on canvas
101 x 76 cm
Eslite Gallery
Duet 二重奏 by Benrei Huang contemporary artwork
Benrei HuangDuet 二重奏, 2018 Acrylic on canvas
76 x 122 cm
Eslite Gallery

Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Benrei Huang, 少數當家 at Eslite Gallery, Taipei
Closed
1–30 December 2018 Benrei Huang 少數當家 Eslite Gallery, Taipei

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