Karl Ingar Røys: Burmese Days15. Aug - 27. Sep 14 / ended The John Jones Project Space
Tues-Fri 11am-6pm, Sat 10am-3pm
From 14th August, the recently redeveloped John Jones Project Space in Finsbury Park, London, presents an exhibition of new works by Norwegian artist, Karl Ingar Røys. Røys’s latest work Burmese Days, 2014, looks at cultural production in Yangon – Burma’s former capital – and how it has been affected by the political regime. The exhibition explores the relationship between politics, culture and art, and is the first solo presentation of Røys's work in the UK.
Norwegian-born Karl Ingar Røys likes to test political systems. He originally studied law before switching to art, but his work remains socio-politically charged often reflecting on contemporary issues such as immigration, human rights and the mass media. Røys uses his artistic practice as an investigative platform to challenge and explore the relationship between politics, culture and art.
Karl Ingar Røys’s latest work Burmese Days, 2014, looks at cultural production in Yangon – Burma’s former capital – and how it has been affected by the political regime. This multi-channel video installation takes its name from George Orwell’s novel of the same title. Orwell is seen as a prophet by the Burmese who regard his books as prescient: tracking Burma’s recent history from colonial oppression in Burmese Days, the socialist military coup in Animal Farm, to the tyrannical dictatorship portrayed in his most famous novel 1984.
Burma was ruled by a military junta from 1962 to 2011, which controlled all artistic production; censoring works including George Orwell’s novels and forcing galleries to seek permission for the artworks they exhibited. Røys’s Burmese Days occupies the aftermath of the 2012 media reforms and intimately portrays Yangon as a site where the personal and the political are overlaid. Drawing upon the real experiences of individuals who lived under the regime – from the punk vocalist with outspoken lyrics and the artist who makes work out of rubbish – Røys intertwines subjectivity into an uncertain reality.
Karl Ingar Røys initially studied Law at the University of Tromsø in Norway before graduating from Central Saint Martins College of Art in 2000. He is currently studying his Masters in Comparative Politics at the University of Bergen in Norway researching the role of art in initiating social change. Røys has exhibited internationally, with his most recent projects held at Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo; Kube Art Museum, Ålesund; Rex Culture Centre, Belgrade; MediaDepo, Ukraine; Tallinn Kunst Hall, Estonia; and Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen, Austria. He lives and works in Oslo and Berlin.
The soundscape for Burmese Days is recorded and produced by the London-based Austrian composer and sound artist Matthias Kispert.
The John Jones Project Space is a not-for-profit space based in the new John Jones Arts Building in Finsbury Park, supported by Arts Council England and Islington Council. The space is designed to showcase work by both upcoming and established artists in a diverse variety of media. The programme will consist of four main exhibitions a year punctuated by shorter projects facilitating experimental practices, outreach activities, providing workshops, artist talks and other educational events.
For more information visit www.johnjones.co.uk/project-space
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