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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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Jagannath Panda

b. 1970, India

Originally from Orissa, Jagannath Panda (born 1970) is a Delhi based artist. He graduated from the M.S. University in Baroda, Gujarat, and went on to do his MFA in Sculpture (1994) at the Royal College of Art in London (2002).

Through his art, Jagannath Panda reconciles many of our most fundamental contradictions. The dichotomies of Nature/Culture, Urban/Rural, Traditional/Contemporary and Figuration/Abstraction find both expression and resolve within Panda's paintings and sculptures. Remarkably, the artist usually incorporates these oppositional scenarios into a single unified whole, subtly fused by the deft handling of colors and compositions. A personal aesthetic sensibility functions as both balancing device and interrogating agent. In a single work, Panda posits the existence of stylized gods, culled from the palm leaf manuscripts of his ancestral Orissa, within the skyscraper apartment blocks of the burgeoning, newest India. His Realism believes in the existence of Fantasy.

Social and environmental issues also concern Panda, his subjects are found on the front page of today's newspaper and in his own backyard. The commonplace object is given symbolic stature, asked to represent communities, aspirations or even dogmas. The juxtaposition of diverse materials in a single work enables the artist to speak with multiple voices. Collage and assemblage are divorced from their Surrealist patrimony and function as both memory and mirror, storing preconceived meanings and reflecting a contradictory reality.

Animals play an important role in the artist's vocabulary. Never anthropomorphic, birds and beasts represent the human condition but also a continuum of life. These are the actors in Panda's morality play, his dramatic staging of an enchanted universe on to which modern rationality has only the most tenuous hold.

Peter Nagy 

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