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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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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 artistic 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...

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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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Ocula Insight

Ashley Bickerton

Ocula Editorial 16 December 2015

In this Ocula Insight, Ashley Bickerton—who has lived in Bali for the last 22 years, but who came to the forefront of the art world as a central figure in New York’s vital East Village scene of the 1980s—discusses his work, and in particular how it has been influenced by both Bali and his time spent working at the Yogya Art Lab. Yogya Art Lab is based in the artistic enclave of Bantul, an area of Yogyakarta in Indonesia, and was established in 2012 by Gajah Gallery to cultivate craftsmanship by connecting artists with local artisans.

'Sometimes you take new directions in your work because you are driven to do so by pure theoretical or emotional motivations. Sometimes you make those moves simply because of opportunity. Let me elaborate, there are reasons that work I made years ago in New York looks very different from work I have done since in Bali. You go with what you have, some seeds just don’t grow in certain environmental conditions, while in others they flourish. It would be impossible to make the kind of work I made in New York where I am now in Bali, there is not the fabrication infrastructure, the technology or the materials to build that sort of immaculate, high precision work.

Image: Ashley Bickerton, Wahine Pa’ina, 2015. Cast Aluminum. Image courtesy Gajah Gallery.

Conversely, the work I have made in Bali likely could never have germinated in New York no matter how intent I was to midwife it into life. But things change. When you are suddenly given an opportunity to work in an entirely new area or medium, you jump on it. I have been given such opportunities a handful of times, the most recent being my collaborations with the Yogya Art Lab.

Ideas that would otherwise just sit and percolate around the back of your mind, suddenly get thrown on the table and you are being told, "We can do this, we can make this happen, and here’s how we’re going to do it." It’s a really nice feeling for an artist with a lot of seemingly unrealisable ideas to be offered the opportunity and encouragement to just go ahead and make them with a full team of dedicated experts.'

Image: Ashley Bickerton, (L-R): Sanur Beach After Le Mayeur & Ni Pollok, 2014. Mixed media on jute; Wahine Pa’ina, 2015. Cast aluminum; Auntie Painting, 2015. Oil and acrylic on jute with artist made frame. Image courtesy Gajah Gallery.

This has been my experience working with YAL, continual happy surprise that these bubblings in my brain are suddenly real and tangible and right in front of you. Somebody tosses an idea at you and you reply, ‘Really, we can do that?’ That is how the sculpture Wahine Pa’ina came into being. I had long wondered what one of these Photoshopped and painted silver figures I have been working on would look like in three dimensions. I thought because of there being so much sculptural intricacy involved in their making, they would remain an unfulfilled dream. YAL convinced me otherwise.” —[O]


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