James Webb is an interdisciplinary artist whose work – framed in large-scale installations in galleries and museums, or as unannounced interventions in public spaces – often makes use of ellipsis, displacement and détournement to explore the nature of belief, and the dynamics of communication in our contemporary world. Webb is known for a practice that employs audio, installation and text, referencing aspects of the conceptualist and minimalist traditions, as well as his academic studies in advertising, comparative religion and theatre.
His recent projects include a filmic study of the abandoned Carlton Hotel in downtown Johannesburg, the development of an audio guide to the 3rd floor of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía based on all the previous exhibitions held there, and numerous versions of his continuing A Series Of Personal Questions (2006 – ongoing) artwork where he literally interviews objects as a form of both speculative research and live, exhibition display.
In 2019, in addition to his second personal exhibition in France at Galerie Imane Farès, James Webb is presenting the Johannesburg iteration of the installation Prayer (2000 – ongoing) on the 14th Biennial of Curitiba.
I do not live in this world alone, but in a thousand worlds (Dreams of Franz Kafka), 2019
30 dreams excerpted from Franz Kafka’s Diaries written on soluble paper, dissolved in water, and presented in 30 glass vials (found objects)
I do not live in this world alone but in a thousand worlds (A Comet is Coming), 2018
3 texts written on soluble paper, dissolved in water, and presented in 3 glass vials 3 glass bottles - 20 cm x 40 cm x 18 cm
A Series of personal questions addressed to a Roman Coin, 2019
Silver Denarius minted in Rome in 70AD, speaker, ampli er, media player, audio dim.: 1,7 cm diam. (coin); 145 x 30 x 30 cm (display case); duration: 00:29:59 (in loop)