“Hope is a Good Swimmer”

James Webb

“Hope is a Good Swimmer”

Personal Exhibition of James Webb

From the December 8, 2016 to February 11, 2017

Opening December 8 at 7.30 pm, in the presence of the artist

From the 8th of December 2016 until the 11th of February 2017, Galerie Imane Farès presents Hope is a good swimmer, the first solo exhibition of South African artist, James Webb, in France.
Curator : Mehdi Brit
A major multidisciplinary artist on the South African scene, James Webb is known for his conceptualist practice, pioneering use of sound in Southern Africa, and iconic artworks that have been presented around the world. Webb’s poetic and political work incorporates issues of belief and forms of communication, through media as diverse as text, plant life, light, and audio in gallery installations as well as public interventions.
Hope is a good swimmer, brings together some of the artist’s recent pieces including Al Madat (2014), All that is Unknown (2016) and Threnody (2016) in an exhibition invoking themes of transcendence, proximity, and romance.
The recorded chants of recovering drug addicts from the Sultan Bahu Rehab Centre in Al Madat (2014) open the exhibition. Their voices are joined in a shared experience of sublimation and community healing, as they use the technique of « Dhikr » to move through a space of intoxication into one of transcendence. « Dhikr » is a traditional Islamic recitation, where the names of God are chanted with special breathing techniques, often with trancelike effects brought to the Cape Town by the Malay Slaves from the 1600s. This ritual is used by the Rehabilitation Centre as an augmentation to the curative process. This work draws on the history of Malay slaves in the Cape, and the modern day struggle with drug abuse, illness and gang violence in the Cape Flats and South Africa in the post-Apartheid state.
In All that is unknown (2016), a stereo array of speakers pulse with recordings of two human heartbeats; one per speaker. The naked speaker cones are placed apart, facing each other across a room, with a distance between them. Referencing signs of life, the pair pulse incessantly at the threshold of audibility, their rhythms phasing in and out with each other like a hushed call and response.
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