The Agency is pleased to present two young London artists, sculptor Karen Tang and painter Arif Ozakca as well as the Dutch video artist Jasmina Fekovic.
In common to all three artists is the use of multiple cultural references in their work. Whilst adhering to the genres of sculptiure, painting and film-making all three artists utilise multi-layered references to cultures which refer both to external cultural influences, be that family origin or foreigness in more general terms.
Dutch born Yougoslavian Jasmina Fekovic was commissioned to create a film about the art scene in Senegal, which together with the editor Eddie van de Velden was achieved on location in Dakar and throughout the country. Rather than making a straightforward documentary, Fekovic opted to incorporate the multitudinous colour and sound impressions of the country interspersed with interviews of Senegalese artists whose artistic values differ strongly from European art production. The Sengalese artists are presented in short interviews without value judgement applied form a European perspective. This is where Fekovic, who calls herself documentarista, stays true to an almost televisual format. But the journeys in between as well as anecdotal episodes of Senegalese politics, Their past colonial connection to the Second World War and the strife to emigrate are represented from a personal perspective of an infiltrator. She mixes uncomfortable fly-on-the wall techniques used by renegade documentary makers such as Nick Broomfield with almost abstracted colour fields generated from overlapping time-lapse footage to illustrate her personal journey. Neutral as the film may appear in the first instance it doesn't just deliver fact but also rests on the complete subjectivity of the artist's eye, whilst at the same time managing to represent not only her own practice but that of other artists.
Karen Tang makes sculptures from metals and wood as well as found and recycled plastics. Formally derived from abstraction and minimalism she hand-cuts patterns into the materials which are taking their inspiration from the European Gothic. Cathedral design is the foremost source, which is moulded into accurate shapes which are equally reminiscent of oriental patterns. Tang confuses and conflates the two influences in a way where it is left up to the viewer to decide which origin they choose to see in the work first. Some of her wooden collapsible sculptures are covered in authentic Chinese wall papers fro the Pearl River region, however the shapes whilst rudimentarily referencing dragon shapes are not necessarily derived from such sources. Tangs' work plays with the conventions of American minimalism yet by utilising pattern takes them one step beyond that and into a freeform which becomes iridescent both in appearance as well as in meaning and origin.
Arif Ozacka began his painterly practice by painting scenes of contemporary domestic violence which take their cue from master paintings such as Rubens and Caravaggio. By utilising modern protagonists and leaving parts of the paintings in black and white or primed canvas he signals his knowing interventions from a post-modern perspective, In more recent works he merged Ottoman patterns as well as Persian miniatures with Rubenesque scenes of the Rape of the Sabins or equally recognizable works of historical significance to European iconography. By utilising iconographic quotes and recreating them with his own hands as well as interspersing them with the miniature narratives or patterns almost akin to a comic strip he creates densely woven narratives of violent clashes and disasters which have both an iconoclastic as well as a very contemporary appeal. In his most recent works he has utilised computer techiniques as well as screen printing in addition to expertly handled painting.
All three artists are confident in their handling of European traditions in their respective media and yet break out to seek to conflate or purposefully mis-represent their source material, which is all the more important as the results are meant to allow for the viewers global confusion. None of the works seek to be authentic or truthful to their subject matter not represent an adherence to any particular identity. The work in this exhibition is as truly cross-cultural as it is inauthentic to the core.
Jasmina Fekovic has shown a/o at Marta Herford Museum as well as the Lux, where she presented her film Goddess, featuring footage of performance artist Maya Deren and film sequences of renowned model Anouck Lepere under the curatorship of Ian White.
Karen Tang has realised many public projects such as the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse Sculpture at the Economist Plaza, London as well as showing in the South London Gallery with Ludovica Giosca and alongside Assume Vivid Astro Focus.
Arif Ozacka was first featured in Canon at the Agency and has just completed his MA from Chelsea College of Art. He will particpate in Re-aspora at Showroom MAMA Rotterdam alongside a/o Johannes Phokela and Camilla Akraka..
LERNE DEUTSCH MIT PETRA VON KANT
Ming Wong's practice explores the performative veneers of language and identity through the moving image. The artist plays a mélange of roles for the camera, often donning the plural personas of actors, actresses and their screen parts, at other times assuming the director's chair. Lerne Deutsch mit Petra von Kant (2007), a re-enactment of scenes from Rainer Werner Fassbinder's The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972), presents Ming Wong in the role of German actress Margit Carstensen and her character. He deliberates the translation of personal subjectivities through speech and motion in a language new to himself by performing one of his favourite German films.
By crossing elements of theatrical arrangement, cinematic history and its narrative fictions with biography, Ming Wong's video works probe into notions of individual transculturation alongside societal acculturation. A recurrent device in his work, the monologue, which expresses the interior spectrum of an individual is juxtaposed with the notion of dialogue as a rendezvous of contingent cultural determinants and exterior articulations. Gestures and utterances occur as emotive indices that describe fluid states of selves and situations, criss-crossing the chessboard dynamics of social relations. In deliberating the surfaces and sub-surfaces of a staged event, constructed persona and the candid moment, Ming Wong's work conveys the effervescence of 'becomings' with glistening acuity.