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...
Griggs’ current exhibition at GAG Projects, Horror Business, is a personal exploration into the dark side. “I consider the works in the show to be primal, violent, comedic, sublime and honest,” Griggs says.
In David Griggs’ graffiti-trash canvases, tattooed skeletons and religious rituals collide with gun-toting cartoon characters and the Ku Klux Klan. Griggs’ journey into this street carnival of politics and spirituality began at the age of eighteen, while photographing scenes of Indian and Nepalese poverty for an underground newspaper. Later, he spent time with refugees on the Thai-Burmese border. But it was the cacophonous confluence of cultures experienced during a 2005 residency in Manila that really revolutionised his practice. Griggs’ recent paintings are a personal response to what he saw in the Philippines: death, violence, poverty, religion and sex, all writ on the huge scale of Manila’s candy-coloured advertising banners. In a ‘reverse collage’ process riffing on the city’s visual complexity, Griggs commissioned banner painters to translate selected travel photographs into paintings, which Griggs then tagged with tattoo imagery, skulls, text and other symbolic elements.
GAGPROJECTS | Greenaway Art Gallery was established in 1991 by Director Paul Greenaway OAM. Divided into two independent spaces that can accommodate all sorts of challenging projects, the large converted warehouse has always shown the best local and national artists with regular invitations extended to artists from other countries.
The Director is a Government Approved Valuer and advice can be given to collectors at every level. Through operating a small project space in Berlin (GAGPROJECTS) and attending all major art events on the international calendar, as well as participating in many art fairs each year, the gallery has established relationships with artists and galleries at an international level. This has enabled us to form bridges for purchases on behalf of clients, or source works for institutions and private collectors not easily accessed.
We want to convey to the first time visitor to our gallery the sense of excitement and discovery we still have for art, as well as advise the serious collectors on a level and involvement that suits them, and stretch all people to learn more about the world through contemporary art.
Horror Business is simply about my struggle with depression. I have been dealing with this struggle on and off for 10 years now. It’s difficult and complex to discuss, however it’s something that should be talked about. Depression is an international epidemic. When I’m not doing well, my brain wanders into some dark places. I started the Horror Business paintings as a way to say, “OK! I have to be strong, I have to learn to cope with this ailment, accept it as part of my being”. And I thought, “OK! Some of my irrational thoughts weigh heavy, so I kept a journal to write these thoughts down”, as a way to try and exile them. Then I used the notes I had written to make paintings from. My irrationality is a really powerful thing, because you’re living it daily and then turning it into a vision. Imagining a vision, a thought so vivid that it puts fear right into your heart then trying to have the strength to paint it. It’s scary for me, but I just thought, “No! What I’m going through I should use as a form of therapy, paint it, and if the paintings are morbid or dark then so be it”. Like the painting of the dancing skeletons in a bubble. I had this thought, what if I don’t have any skin? I had come to a place where I felt ready and strong enough to use my own nature as the content in my work. I decided that I should paint in black; grey and white to best capture my own Horror Business.
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