About10 September 15 December 2012
JVA Project Space
Café 171, Jerwood Space, London. SE1 0LN
When watching a film produced for cinema on a home television or a personal computer, two black bars are present at the top and bottom of the screen. This is known as the Letterbox.
This installation of new work by Johann Arens uses the mechanism of a two-way viewing a screen, to frame a situation as is typically encountered in the JVA Project Space. The scene is compiled by the café's interior, its staff, customers and the building's architectural features, and includes the ambient soundtrack of activity in the space. A free standing two-way screen is positioned in such a way that it interrupts the usual flow of visitors to the Project Space by dividing the room into two spaces, where the participants, on each side, have interchangeable roles. A common public situation undergoes a subtle shift becoming a fictional scene where everyone is, simultaneously, an actor and a viewer.
Arens produces moving image works for installation that seamlessly blend film with stylised studio recordings to create strange hybrids. These hybrids explore ideas surrounding the materiality of the digital image and in doing so encourage an awareness of one's own viewing behaviour. He also makes works that do not directly employ moving image but still refer to it, producing complex installations which involve what the artist has described as âas a landscape of objects', which are positioned in a specific location. Despite the absence of moving image in these works, the methodologies of film making are still made present through the careful placement of objects which often include; viewing devices, light stands, mirrors, shapes frames and modified furniture. These objects are placed in a loose constellation with each other, often within functional spaces, and require an active effort on behalf of the viewer to combine the different elements of the total artwork. The artist has described how, in spite of the apparent lack of a camera, viewers of his work might still have a âcinematic experience' through the way in which they choose navigate his installations.